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

2Feb/180

Lady Bird (2017)

I think if you told someone that Saoirse Ronan (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Lovely Bones), the actress who won audiences over with her innocent portrayal of a conflicted young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s New York City in 2015's fabulous Brooklyn (which earned her a Best Actress Nomination) is the same person playing the lead role two years later in Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird, they'd look at you funny before looking at pictures of her from both movies, recalling scenes from each, and then of kind of nodding their heads and saying, "Yeah, I guess that is the same actress." While a movie I didn't really resonate with and definitely near the bottom of the Best Picture nominees in the lackluster 2017, I did appreciate her performance...one that was just as honest and true as the one she gave in Brooklyn. And similarly to 2015, her work in this movie is likely the third or fourth best of the year and landed Ronan her second Academy Award nomination.

29Jan/180

The Post (2017)

I was able to preview Steven Spielberg's (Jaws, Saving Private Ryan) The Post two years before it was released to the public and even a year before it went into the production. It was called Spotlight and it won the Oscar for Best Picture. It was a fantastic movie. I wish I was more than kidding and with that, I could be more positive about my viewing of, what I hoped could be, one of the best movies of the year. That was months ago when I only knew of the movie title and that it starred Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. In my head, I envisioned a movie about an army outpost and was very intrigued. But then I saw the preview and I wished the movie would have been about a post office instead. Then, when I was halfway through the movie, I wish I had been watching a movie about a bedpost, a fence post, or any other post that would have represented something far less predictable and boring than the waste of talent and time that was being projected on the screen in front of me. It was one of those times (I've had many recently) where I have been more than grateful for having a MoviePass. The thought of actually paying for some of these 2017 movies is even more terrifying than the disappointing IT, a movie that was neither scary nor good. And, with the exception of a couple of non-Oscar nominated movies that I am still looking forward to, but have yet to see (Hostiles, The Florida Project), The Post successfully ends 2017, the worst year for movies so far this century.

26Jan/180

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

As the release of 2017 movies slowly (and mercifully) comes to an end, each review provides an opportunity to reflect deeper and deeper on the year that was. I've mentioned a few times in recent reviews that 2017 has, by far, been the worst year for movies since the inception of this blog back in 2010.  There are movies that very may finish on my end of year Top 5 that wouldn't even come close to finishing in my Top 10 in any other year. Unfortunately, for this review, Luca Guadagnino's (A Bigger Splash, I Am Love) Call Me By Your Name did not benefit from a week 2017. While this movie has done very well with the critics and likely will earn multiple Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture, Best Actor (Timothée Chalamet - Lady Bird, Interstellar), Best Adapted Screenplay as well as potential nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Armie Hammer - Nocturnal Animals, The Birth of a Nation) and Michael Stuhlbarg (The Shape of Water, Arrival), Best Original Song, and others, it still didn't captivate me in the way I expected it to. For those expecting this to be the greatest movie about gay love since Brokeback Mountain, you may be disappointed. Brokeback Mountain is an A+ movie. Guadagnino's (A Bigger Splash, I Am Love) Call Me By Your Name is a B at best.

25Jan/180

Get Out (2017)

Jordan Peele's debut feature film Get Out was a film that I originally wasn't going to review. I liked the movie well enough but it wasn't one that I totally felt comfortable writing about. I only do so now because it is likely to be nominated for Best Picture and could get as many as 10 nominations. This is kind of crazy for a movie released in February. It certainly isn't unheard of, but it is rare. It's Academy Award nominations, 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and $175+ million in box office revenue off a $5 million budget confirm that this is one of the most surprising and successful movies of all-time. It may be THE most successful horror movie of all-time if you measure it by those four factors alone. It's a movie that keeps you engaged and entertained from its very first scene (think a toned and shorter version of the first scene in Scream), powers its way through a unique plot that you've never seen on film before, and keeps you on the edge of your seat through its bold and unpredictable final act. It's not only a great time at the movies that will keep you guessing until the very end. If takes on some underlying racial tones and tensions of the day that makes it seem like comedian Peele (Key and Peele) has been doing this his whole life. But this is is his first real dabble with anything outside of comedy, his first attempt at writing something for the big screen, and his first attempt at directing. He nailed each of these with pure precession. He will undoubtedly receive an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. There will be other nominations too and it appears that Best Picture will be one of those. It will be much deserved in a year that will, for the most part, be forgotten about when it comes to movies. That is outside of little, unsuspecting movies such as this. 

21Jan/180

Phantom Thread (2017)

Daniel Day-Lewis (The Last of the Mohicans, The Unbearable Lightness of Being) is the Brett Favre, Sugar Ray Leonard or Michael Jordan of acting. I say that for two reasons. He's the best at what the does (and there aren't many out there who would disagree and even if they tried, they wouldn't have much of a foot to really stand on), but also because he threatens to, and often does, retire from his craft, only to, after a non-predetermined set of time, return to peak performance. He retired from stage acting in 1989 when he walked off the stage during a production of Hamlet. After 1997's The Boxer, he took up cobbling for five years (where he made exactly one pair of shoes, before Martin Scorsese pulled him out of retirement to star opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Gangs of New York, a film that netted him his third Best Actor Oscar nomination at the time. He then went into hiding for another three years before The Ballad of Jack and Rose (perhaps only one of two misses in his career...the other being The Nine which didn't live up to its hype). Between these two misses, Day-Lewis gave, perhaps, the most memorable performance of his career as oil tycoon Daniel Plainview in Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, a role that won him his fourth nomination and second Oscar for Best Actor. After 2009's The Nine, he disappeared for another three years before returning as President Abraham Lincoln in Steven Speilberg's Lincoln, which landed him his fifth Best Actor Oscar nomination and third win. That was in 2012. 2017's Phantom Thread is his return film and one that he assures us is the last of his career. Will it earn him his sixth Oscar nomination? I am guessing that it will, though he will have no chance of winning acting's top prize. This year belongs to Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour. But if this is how Day-Lewis will go out, he'll do so in a role that isn't as captivating as many of his previous role, but one that is so subdued that you'll find yourself comparing against these past masterful roles and wondering how he is so easily able to create characters that are so different from one another when it seems like such a challenge for so many of the other actors of our generation, even some of our better ones.