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


Passengers (2016)

Passengers is one of those movies that your interest would be better served if you looked at the audience score rather than the critics' scores. A 30% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes would suggest that you skip this one. But a 70% audience score suggests something more. This was one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Plus I try to see everything. But even I was skeptical when I saw how it was getting panned by so many different critics. Even my most respected site (Roger Ebert's site) only gave the movie 1.5 stars. But I talked to a couple of different people who go to the movies a lot, and they said, despite some holes, that they recommended it. The only thing I knew about Passengers going in (I never saw a trailer) was that it starred Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, Joy) and that they were lost in space. And while I suppose there were holes in this movie, they didn't in any way deter my enjoyment of this film. The parts that I found more troublesome than anything else were the personal emotions and the relationship between the two leads and, really, I didn't even have a problem with that.


Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Almost perfect. While it may not even end up in my top five movies of the year, Tom Ford's (A Single Man) Nocturnal Animals was almost perfect. There was so much I liked in this movie and Ford almost created a masterpiece, but the movie just felt short. An A- for sure. Maybe even an A. But it won't be the 49th movie that I've seen that I would classify as an A+. Jake Gyllenhaal (Love and Other Drugs, Everest) is better than ever and he COULD end up with an Oscar nomination for this film. In a perfect world, he would, especially since he very well may have been the odd man out both in 2015 (Nightcrawler) and 2016 (Southpaw) for a Best Actor Academy Award. But with four of the five slots pretty much locked up (Tom Hanks - Sully, Denzel Washington - Fences, Casey Affleck - Manchester by the Sea, Joel Edgerton (Loving), that leaves only one more nomination between Gyllenhaal, Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Warren Beatty (Rules Don't Apply), and Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge). And, to be honest, while his performance was great, it wasn't nearly the performance he gave in either Nightcrawler or Southpaw. Ford's chances for a Best Directing nod look even dimmer, and an impressive performance by Amy Adams (The Fighter, American Hustle) may be completely overlooked because she will likely receive a nomination (and may even be the frontrunner) for Arrival, a movie that was released just a week before Nocturnal Animals.


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.