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

21Feb/180

Hostiles (2017)

The very first scene of Scott Cooper's (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) under the radar Hostiles lets you know one thing right off the bat. We get a good 10-minute scene of a four-man group of Comanche warriors comes rolling out of nowhere, attacks a family of five in the brutalist of fashions, before burning down the ranch and taking off with their horses. After this scene, we get the title Hostiles pop up on the screen and we know quickly we are in for something different than Will Smith's Wild Wild West. This movie is not for the weak at heart. If you do not like tragedy, this film is not for you. If you have a stomach for, sometimes, senseless killing, characters who carry anger so deep that it burns their souls, and guilt so heavy that it tears lives apart, then this movie could be for you. If you crave a good old-fashioned western, then this movie surely will suffice. And if you want to see A-listers like Christian Bale (The Fighter, The Dark Knight Rises), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, A United Kingdom), Jesse Plemons (The Post, Other People), Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird) and Ben Foster (Hell or High Water, Lone Survivor) continue to cement their names in Hollywood, you can't go wrong with Hostiles, easily one of the five best movies of 2017. Though it's unlikely to dethrone Wind River for me, it's doing its most darn make its case in the 11th hour.

11Feb/180

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.

5Oct/140

Gone Girl (2014)

Halfway through Gone Girl, I thought I was watching this year's movie to beat. It had everything I wanted in a terse murder mystery/thriller.  It had the small town file (which I love). We know who the main potential suspect may be from the film's opening minutes. But this potential suspect may also be the film's protagonist. And we are left guessing about his guilt or innocence through a huge majority of the film. We like him. We don't like him. We hate him. We love him. We go through the gamut of emotions and this leaves us exhausted as we sit on the edge of our seats.  But the movie really unravels in the last 45 minutes with more absurdities than a a Jim Carrey movie. Suddenly this well thought out thriller becomes a bit of a mockery of itself in an attempt to separate it from other whodunit movies.