Movie Review: The Martian (2015)

Running time: 142 minutes

Director: Ridley Scott

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After being hit by a projectile in the middle of a fierce storm, astronaut Mark Watney is left behind in Mars by his crew mates who think he has died. Stranded in Mars all by himself, Mark will have to try to survive while finding a way to tell NASA he is still alive. In a hostile planet where food is unavailable, his only resources will be his intelligence and his optimism.

The character of Mark Watney in the book is simply fascinating. He is incredibly charming, he has a great and unexpected sense of humour, considering the situation he is in, but you also get his frustration when things don’t work as he planned. He is a relatable character and comes across as a real human being and it is all of those traits that make you so invested in his journey and Matt Damon captures every single one of those.

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However, this is not a one-man show and with such a huge cast there is not a weak link in the movie. Every single character serves its purpose and every actor is absolutely amazing. It’s a long list of actors to mention but from the people at NASA (Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Mackenzie Davis, Donald Glover) to the Hermes crew (Jessica Chastain, Sebastian Stan, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Aksel Hennie) everyone is fantastic.There is not exactly character arcs but they are all well realized. You even get the relation between Watney and his crew mates even though you hardly see them together.

Even though there are some changes, as it is expected, I felt the same as I did when I read the book and that is what I want from an adaptation. I don’t mind the changes as long as they keep the essence of the book. The emotion and the tension was all there and especially the comedy. It’s amazing how such a serious situation can actually be so funny without being cartoonish. They succeeded at pulling it off just like the book did.

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Everyone is describing it as Castaway meets Apollo 13 and it really is. And it is just as great if not more. There is a lot of science going on but, unlike Interstellar, the science is easy to follow. You believe that everything going on in Mars could have actually happened as it doesn’t play so much as fiction but as a true story, with real humanity in it. It’s visually beautiful and the special effects, as it is typical from Ridley Scott, are outstanding.

The masterful editing, cutting between Mars, Earth and Hermes makes the 2 hours and 20 minutes just fly by. Ridley Scott’s filmmaking has proven to be a bit inconsistent in the last years (even decade) but The Martian shows that he still has it in him. This is one of those rare occasions where everything comes together perfectly, the direction, the writing, the performances, the visuals, to make a breathtaking film. The Martian is a movie not to be missed.

9,75/10

Movie Review: Interstellar (2014)

Title: Interstellar

Running time: 169 minutes

Director: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastian, Bill Irwin, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Mackenzie Foy

Summary: With our time on Earth coming to an end, a team of explorers undertakes the most important mission in human history; traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars.

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It’s difficult to talk about this movie without getting into spoilers, but I’m going to do my best. The major problem Interstellar has is probably the high expectations people will have walking into it, because when Christopher Nolan is involved the bar is set quite high. And, while Interstellar has a very interesting premise and the CGI is simply flawless, it is in the execution where it falls apart and the film overall is not as good as you would have hoped. Is it bad? No. But is it great? No.

Coming right after the McConaugheysance, Mathew McConaughey does a great job at showing the devastation of seeing your family age and making the audience connect with his character and understand the hard decisions he has to make. Mackenzie Foy, who plays young Murph is exceptionally good and the father-daughter relation was very well portrayed and is actually one of the things that keeps the movie together. On the other hand, the son was just a waste of screen time.

Anne Hathaway’s character, though, is quite inconsistent with her motivation and I never really got to care about her. And is a case of a poor-written female character. Thankfully Jessica Chastain has a more dimensional role and was really good specially in her video messages. I would have liked to see more of her on earth and explore more how the world is dying because, even though they keep telling you, I never got the feeling of the world being at stake.

And that’s another big problem. Because the premise is so complicated, everything needs to be explained and this leads to a lot of scientific talk between McConaughey and Hathaway. It’s a movie where you have to pay a lot of attention. If you zone off for a moment, you might be lost for the rest of it. And beware, it’s a really long movie.

In the end, Interstellar is an ambitious movie but Christopher Nolan was overreaching and at certain points it feels like he was improvising as he wrote the script, not really knowing where he was going. It tries to be so grounded in science but can’t follow that path towards the third act. And the ending is not emotional enough to make a huge impact after everything.

But, whether you like it or not, you can’t deny this is a must-watch film and an extraordinary visual experience, beautiful to look at and leads to very different opinions. There may be many misses with the story but is only because Nolan had the guts to make really bold choices and that is something that deserves appreciation and recognition.

7’5/10

This Week’s Movie News (27-31 oct)

Steve Jobs Biopic Casting Information

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Christian Bale will be Steve Jobs in the next Danny Boyle untitled movie about the Apple co-founder. Ashton Kutcher already played the part in Jobs without much success, but this time the script has been written by Aaron Sorkin, who had access to Job’s authorized biography by Walter Isaacson

Seth Rogen is in talks to play Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Jessica Chastain is also being rumoured to have a role in the film.

The film will only consist of three scenes and is expected to follow Jobs during his time backstage before three stressful, high-profile product launches including the first Macintosh in 1984 and Apple’s 2001 debut of the iPod.

The new biopic doesn’t have a release date yet.

‘Wonder Woman’ rumoured to take place in the 20s

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It’s still quite early for speculations since Wonder Woman, starred by Gal Gadot, isn’t coming out until 2017 but Warner Bros. is already looking for a female director and some hints about the plot are starting to surface. Since the movie will come out between Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League Part 1, most of us assumed that it would be set in that timeline but according to some reports, the idea could be to make it a period piece, just like the first Captain America, and take place in the 1920s. So Wonder Woman would find herself in a time when women had just got the right to vote.

But that’s not it. According to the reports, Warner Bros. is already thinking about a trilogy and the sequel would be set during World War II and the modern-day and the third installment set in the modern time period of Dawn of Justice. However, Wonder Woman 2 isn’t part of DC’s current released scheduled which goes until 2020 so this is too far away.

‘Terminator: Genisys’ Plot Info

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First of all, I wonder why they thought leaving Arnold Schwarzenegger out of these covers was a good idea?

Terminator: Genisys is the first of the three planned films that will relaunch the franchise and is set in 2029 when the Future War is raging and a group of human rebels has the evil artificial-intelligence system Skynet on the ropes. John Connor (Jason Clarke) is the leader of the resistance, and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is his loyal soldier, raised in the ruins of post apocalyptic California. As in the original film, Connor sends Reese back to 1984 to save Connor’s mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator programmed to kill her so that she won’t ever give birth to John. But what Reese finds on the other side is nothing like he expected.

Sarah Connor, in this timeline, was orphaned by a Terminator when she was 9 years old, and was thereafter raised by the Terminator that Schwarzenegger is playing. Producer David Ellison explained to EW that this new take on Sarah Connor is different from any of the previous versions.

“Since she was 9 years old, she has been told everything that was supposed to happen. But Sarah fundamentally rejects that destiny. She says, ‘That’s not what I want to do.’ It’s her decision that drives the story in a very different direction.”

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They’re doing a great job at keeping Matt Smith’s character a secret. Terminator: Genisys will hit theaters on July 1, 2015

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Directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar is a science-fiction film starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain. It opens in theaters on November 7, 2014.

“Love is the one thing that transcends time and space”

Not much information has been revealed about this movie yet, but finally a trailer gives us a peek of the story and the characters instead of emphasizing that it is a Christopher Nolan film. The first trailer didn’t catch my interest but this one is starting to pique my curiosity. It seems this may be another big year for Matthew McConaughey.