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

5Apr/170

Life (2017)

Wow! Life > Alien.!

Yup. You heard that right. 2017 is off to a tremendous start! January, February, and March typically combine for the worst quarter of the year for movies. I've been reviewing movies since 2010 and each year has confirmed this belief. I didn't anticipate 2017 feeling differently but is slowly happening. First, there was the surprising Split, which I personally wasn't a fan of, but one that did fantastic with audience and critics. Then there was Logan, which at the time of this writing is one of my five favorite Marvel movies ever. Sprinkle in the surprise hit Get Out, the quality reboot Kong: Skull Island, the live-action smash success Beauty and the Beast and you already have five movies that, won't necessarily be up for awards at the end of the year, but will be remembered as success stories for 2017. Now add a late March release of Life, the Jake Gyllenhaal/Ryan Reynolds vehicle that has been wowing potential audiences with both extended trailers and television advertisements during some marquee events. And for good reason. The trailer drew my interest and, barring a complete rejection by the critics, I knew this would be a movie that I saw in the theater. I am actually surprised by the 66% critics score and even more shocked by the 61% audience score. This movie isn't necessarily a thinker in terms that you're going to get confused, but it does make you use your brain to follow along. For this reason, I don't expect an audience score to be 95% or whatever, but I would expect it to be much higher. Perhaps it was a little slow for some people at times. I certainly did not think so. I was hooked from the beginning and thoroughly engrossed the entire 103 minute run time.

2Apr/170

Logan (2017)

James Mangold's (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line) Logan is about to set the standard for the next wave of superhero movies...the death of a major character. In an age of movies (particularly superhero ones) where we've seen sequels, prequels, and reboots, we have yet to see the beginning, middle, and definite conclusion of a story. We've seen plenty of superhero movies that COULD be a conclusion story, but we've all learned the hard way that we think is the end probably isn't the end unless we see that character killed off. And, let's be honest, even then we don't really know. When there is the potential for hundreds of millions of dollars to be made, who are we to believe that the end is the end. Often times, the end is determined by a crappy movie in a series that doesn't resonate with audiences or critics. Sometimes, that movie can be a concluding story, but often times it is not. But (spoiler, but not really) based on what happens at the end of the film, I don't expect to see him back. I know I probably will in some other fashion, but that can be an argument for a different day. Until then, I'll continue to sing the praises of Logan. And at the time of this review, I have it as a top five Marvel movie of all-time.

20Mar/170

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Kong: Skull Island was definitely my most anticipated movie of the first quarter of 2017. Granted the first three months of the year aren't usually known for producing the year's best films. And while Kong: Skull Island won't be up for any end of year honors and won't end up on my year's top ten list (unless this year is God awful for movies), I found it to be a very engaging, exciting, and, if it's even possible, original. While it wasn't nearly perfect, this movie was awesome. As excited as I was to see it when I originally saw the trailer, I wasn't feeling it the day of my viewing. Even with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 79%, I still felt like I was going to be disappointed. I haven't seen the most recent King Kong movie (the 2005 one starring Naomi Watts and Adrien Brody) since seeing it in the theater. I remember liking it a lot. But I don't remember many of the details. I do remember it being extremely long. It honestly felt like it should have been two movies and I think that's why I haven't watched it since, even though there has been a copy of the DVD sitting on my bookshelf for the last decade. Kong: Skull Island was certainly not a sequel or a prequel and it didn't feel completely like a reboot to me either. Sure, there have been other King Kong movies about a group of unknowns visiting Skull Island, but either this one had a different twist than the other ones or I just wasn't paying enough attention (which is entirely possible), but this movie had a sense of freshness in it that I didn't suspect. That plus its visuals, sound, lack of dull/unimportant moments, and relatively short length (118 minutes) allow me to fully endorse this movie as one that you should try to see in the theater. Plus, this movie was not created in 3D when it very well could have been. This is a definite plus.

16Mar/170

The Accountant (2016)

Gavin O'Connor's (Pride and Glory, Miracle) The Accountant is a movie that resonated with audiences ($86 million at the box office, 78% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes) but nearly as much with critics (a score of just 51% on Rotten Tomatoes). I saw the movie on its opening weekend because I thought the trailer looked fantastic and I've been a big fan of just about everything Ben Affleck (Argo, Gone Girl) touches, both in front of behind the camera since 2007's Gone Baby Gone, a film that the led to his reemergence as a Hollywood A-lister. The Accountant looked like it would be the type of movie I love, a gritty drama/thriller that is dark, mysterious, and violent. The Accountant is just that, with its lead character is some masterful number cruncher by day and assassin by night. I was disappointed that I did not enjoy as much as I had hoped. More perturbing was that so many of my friends would ask me if I liked the movie and when I would have to tell them that I didn't, they would be surprised and said that they liked it. I chalked it up to me not having a good day at the theater. Perhaps I was tired, didn't feel like being at the movies that day (unlikely), or caught up in texting someone in an empty theater (more likely). I decided I would give the movie another chance when it came to Netflix and, this time, really pay attention. Since so many people saw this movie or are wanting to see it, I was determined to give it as solid of a review as I could. While I did like my second viewing more, I still didn't love it. And I think a lot of it had to do with me wanting to know everything that was happening and wanting to make sense of it. I was struggling to do this. I had to look at some spoiler sites and read some reviews of others to really appreciate this movie for what it's worth. There is an audience for it. If you like the Jason Bourne movies, you'll likely like this. Likewise, if you like movies that have its lead characters dealing with a group of complex disorders of brain development, which is one definition of Autism, you'll like this movie. The Accountant is a movie that I recommend with the preface that you really need to pay attention to this film at all times as there is a lot happening at once. And, also, you need to suspend your beliefs to really enjoy the film. The Accountant (Affleck's character) is a man who can do it all. But then again, so is Jason Bourne and most people (including me) love those movies, especially the first three.

19Feb/170

Hell or High Water (2016)

David Mackenzie's (Spread, Asylum) 2016 surprise is a movie that you'll like if you go in with very minimal expectations. If you think it's going to be your typical bank robbery thriller, you might be disappointed. If you think it's going to be filled with drama and suspense, you might likewise be disappointed. If you are interested in a simple character driven story with a little more than meets the initial eye, you might enjoy Hell or High Water. It's definitely a bit more quirky than you might think. If you are expecting a heavy bank caper drama, this isn't it. Mackenzie tries to take a different angle with this movie, adding some humor, recklessness, and interesting side characters to a story that is, primarily, still a bank heist film first. And while this movie has a 98% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, this doesn't mean that most reviewers are scoring it a 9.8/10. Rather it means that 49 out of 50 give this movie a positive review. While it is an interesting film (and the first one of 2016 that I have watched twice), it is by no means a Best Picture candidate. I know there was talk that it might sneak into the race. I have no idea how it got a nomination for Best Picture whereas a movie like Sully did not. While Hell or Hgh Water is a decent movie, I think a lot of people (including myself) expected it to be something far greater than it actually was.