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

17May/170

The Wall (2017)

First things first, if you think you're going into this seeing a John Cena movie, you will be sorely disappointed. This movie is similar to a move like 127 Hours, Cast Away, I Am Legend, or All Is Lost in the sense that it revolves almost entirely around a single character. The are a couple of major differences though between this one and those just stated. There are no flashback scenes. This movie is done almost entirely in real time. And it occurs in a single location, though 127 Hours, for the most part, does as well. The Wall is similar though in the sense that each of the mentioned movies experiences EXTREME periods of hopelessness during a part or a majority of the movie. The Wall isn't nearly as good as these other movies, but it was unique enough that it held your interest. Whereas 127 Hours was based on a true story, where All Is Lost is easily believable, and where I Am Legend is more of a science fiction movie that we have to suspend our belief for, The Wall falls somewhere in between. I loved that it was just 81 minutes long. It didn't need to be any longer so why drag something out when it doesn't have to be? And the first 20 minutes were completely engrossing. I knew a little bit about the movie, but not enough to know where it was going. But then it took a turn for the weird that took the believability aspect out of it and turned it into a game of cat and mouse that, while entertaining, was not something I'd expect out of my war movies.

25Nov/160

Allied (2016)

While a 65% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes would suggest that a movie should be checked out (2 out of every three critics liking the film), sometimes you wonder why the score isn't higher. Allied, the Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, The Walk) World War II love story set in both Casablanca and London about two intelligence officers from opposite sides of the world says a lot. The movie, set in both Casablanca and London, has been loosely referred to as Mr. and Mrs. Smith (because of Brad Pitt) meets Casablanca (because of the period and location). While I understand the reference, this is far from the truth. I did not like either of these other two movies (I know. I know. Casablanca is one of the greatest movies of all-time...yawn), but I really enjoyed Allied.

7Nov/160

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge > Saving Private Ryan. That was what I claimed immediately after my theater viewing of Mel Gibson's (Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ) newest film. I've since slept on this, but haven't entirely backed down from this statement. However, it has been awhile since I've seen Steven Spielberg's 1998 Best Picture and I really should have watched it again before making this bold claim. Nonetheless, it doesn't take away from Gibson's film. Hacksaw Ridge was based on a true story whereas Saving Private Ryan was not. For me, when all else is equal, gives the nod to the one that is more factual based. Don't get my wrong, Saving Private Ryan was an amazing movie. The Invasion of Normandy Omaha Beach to open the movie was one of the most captivating and memorable action sequences in the history of film. When I made the claim that Hacksaw Ridge was a better movie, I almost inserted the caveat that "outside of the opening 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan, Hacksaw Ridge is a better movie." But that seemed like a copout. If I was this passionate about Hacksaw Ridge, I couldn't spoil it with some kind of condition that limited my case.

5Jul/160

Free State of Jones (2016)

With his scraggly beard, yellow teeth, foreboding scowl, and deliberate limp, Matthew McConaguhey's (Amistad, A Time to Kill) portrayal of Newt Knight, a poor white farmer who led an extraordinary rebellion during the Civil War, is a far cry from the same man who was pigeonholing his career a decade earlier by playing the same character over and over in hit or miss romantic comedies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, The Wedding Planner, Fool's Gold, and The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past just to name a few. McConaguhey reinvented himself three or four years ago and re-established himself as dramatic leading man with the likes of The Lincoln Lawyer, Interstellar, HBO's True Detective, Killer Joe, Mud, and Dallas Buyer's Club, for which he won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role at the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony. While he's had his misses recently (has anyone even heard of 2016's The Sea of Trees?), he has continued to have the ability to pick and choose his movies and, unlike his string of romantic comedies, he continues to branch himself out further and further.

23Oct/142

Fury (2014)

David Ayer's (Harsh Times, End of Watch) Fury is a mix of bits and pieces of just about every war movie you've ever seen. It's Saving Private Ryan meets Apocalypse Now meets Black Hawk Down meets platoon sprinkled in with a little bit of The Perfect Storm (non war movie). It unsuccessfully tries to tug on your emotions while trying to tell fragments of stories about each of the five main characters. If you were to just read the movie spoilers for this movie (http://www.themoviespoiler.com/2014Spoilers/Fury.html), you might think this movie is amazing. The trailer makes the movie look incredible. I really do think the potential was there for this movie to be a classic. It sort of had the right script. It definitely had the right group of actors. I just don't think the direction was very good. If the goal was to feel for these characters like you do for the movies I mentioned in the first couple sentences of this review, it ultimately failed. If the goal was to leave you with a story that you'd remember for years and years to come, it failed there as well too. If the goal was to provide a two hour escape from life, I'm not even sure it did that. At times it was far too slow and you weren't exactly sitting on the edge of your seat during the action scenes. Never did I feel like I wasn't watching a movie. That's never a good thing.