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


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.


The Railway Man (2014)

The biggest flop of 2014? Possibly. Jonathan Teplitzky's (Burning Man, television's Broadchurch) grossed under $5 million in the theaters, but cost $18 million to make. This movie should have been great. But then again, so should have been Unbroken, the underwhelming Angelina Jolie vehicle that showcased the 47-day survival of two men living on a raft after their plane is shot down during World War II only to then be held in a prisoner of war camp. This movie did just fine at the box office (doubling its budget costs), but it still did not come close to expectations. The Railway Man had lesser expectations than Unbroken, but it did have a better cast as well as weaker competition at the time of its release. A 66% on Rotten Tomatoes isn't bad, but usually you want to see a slightly higher (at minimum) for a true story based historical drama. I am uncertain why I watched this film. I had convinced myself I was not going to. But it showed up on my Showtime OnDemand list one day when I was trying to find a movie to watch and decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I did. It is certainly not a great movie, but is better than expected. It is a much more complete film than was Unbroken.


Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)

Horrible Bosses wowed audiences ($117 million) and won over most critics (69% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) back in the summer of 2011. The unlikely comedy starred three guys in their late 30's/early 40's who absolutely hated the bosses that they worked for so much that they plotted ways to get even with them for making their work lives so miserable. With an unlikely group that had TWO Best Actor Academy Award (Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx) winners from the last fifteen years signed on as supporting characters, this cast was a list of who's who in Hollywood. The movie is extremely funny and is very much worth a view. It seems, however, that the same critics who lauded the Horrible Bosses seem to be the same ones crushing Horrible Bosses 2 (just 35% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). While I wouldn't go so far as to say the sequel was better than the first one, it was comparable in terms of laughs. While the formula is the same, the jokes are new and original and the payoff is just as good as the original. With that said, I hope that this franchise quits while it's ahead. I could see a potential Horrible Bosses 3 resulting in an utter disaster.


Two Days, One Night (2014)

While I am not the biggest fan of foreign language films, I am the first to admit that when a foreign movie is great, you get to the point where you don't even notice you are reading subtitles anymore. You become so gripped by the movie that it's not just a great foreign film you are watching...but rather it's a great film. However, on the flip side, when a foreign film is bad, it tends to drag and drag and drag. I think part of that reason is that you've tuned out the movie so much that you when you do glance back, you have no idea where you are in the movie. It becomes a dreadful movie experience. I feel that almost all of the foreign movies I watch are based on recommendations. Rarely will I be perusing Netflix and see a movie and add it to my queue because it's a "foreign movie". I am far more likely to eliminate a movie for being in subtitles than I am to entertain it. As a result, very rarely do I find a foreign movie to be mediocre. I usually end up either liking the movie a ton or feeling like I just wasted two hours of my life. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule and that is exactly what Two Days, One Night is. It is a movie that is mediocre in every sense. It had nothing to do with it being a foreign film. Had it not had subtitles, it would have been equally mediocre.


The Good Lie (2014)

"Inspired by true events" verses "This is a true story" are two very different things. The first could mean anything and it's harder to get upset when you find out fact and fiction don't always meet eye to eye. When you are told that what you are about to see is a true story and then you find out later that facts (both minor and major) have been changed along the way, you have the right to get a bit more upset. The Good Lie is inspired by true events. And while they bring light to a very important issue, as far as I can tell, the character story that was told was mostly fictional. Now this brings up an interesting conversation. Would you rather see a movie that is strictly factual but doesn't tell the most exciting story or one that is based out from a real situation, but has, for the most part, specific characters and specific situations that are more fictionalized. I'm careful with what to write here, not because I'm worried that I'll give away any spoilers, but because I don't want to knock I movie that I thought was really good. And I think heartwarming might not even be the best choice of words here because the main characters in this movie went though some absolutely horrific situations over the course of their lives. But if the story was all doom and gloom, would it attract the audience a story like The Good Lie hopes to attract? I think you want to shed light on certain issues while also offering hope. That is what this movie does. Nonetheless, I think the topic is open for debate because I think a very small percentage of the stories related to the brutal 1983 Civil War between Northern and Southern Sudan ended as positive as did story told in The Good Lie.