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

6Feb/180

Dunkirk (2017)

Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception) might be the best technical director we've ever seen. His precession is perfect. His attention to detail is unmatched. His brain operates in a way that it is always a step ahead of his actors and two steps ahead of his audience. We've seen technical masterpieces throughout his, already, storied career. At 47 years of age, he already has masterpieces like Following, Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, The Prestige, Inception, and Interstellar all underneath his belt. His "worst" movie, according to Rotten Tomatoes, is Interstellar and that still has a 71% fresh rating. That means his "worst" movie still had five out of every seven critics still gave the movie a positive rating. But for all of the positives associated with Nolan's films (and there are many), he has failed to capture the often needed emotional component with every single one of them. When I am enjoying his films for their near technical perfection, their unpredictability, their vision, etc. (and I have enjoyed every single one), I wonder why I feel nothing emotionally. I'm loving these films, but I'm not invested in any single one of them (well...maybe The Dark Knight because that's one of the ten greatest films ever made). He had the perfect opportunity to create a situation that could have drawn out feelings in the audience with Interstellar. You had the actors for it. You had the story for it. Everything was in place for a story that could have been remembered for years. And it fell flat in its attempt to draw out human emotion. Nolan had the opportunity, once again, to right himself with Dunkirk. But he fell back into his old ways, retelling one of the more inspirational war stories of our time and leaving us completely detached from its characters, many of whom we are unable to differentiate from each other anyway. It is one of nine nominated movies for Best Picture. I believe it should be there. I think it could even win. I don't think it will. And I hope that it won't. It was by no means a bad film. In fact, it was a good one and even great in some ways. It just wasn't an overly memorable movie all around. And with all of the hype associated with it, I don't know how you can't be disappointed with the end product.

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.