The Martian (2015)

Moving right along, up for a few Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role along with adapted screenplay and production design and more is The Martian.  I had meant to see this in theatres but I believe it landed in a time when I didn’t find much time to go anywhere or do anything other than the normal routine.  Regardless, I came home from a weekend getaway with a friend and decided to start this one up!

Let’s check it out! 🙂

The Martian (2015)

The Martian

Director: Ridley  Scott

Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristin Wiig, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.-IMDB

The Martian is a smart and thrilling action adventure.  Its adapted from a novel by Andy Weir with the same novel. I’m going to be honest that I’m not a huge fan of Matt Damon.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen many of his movies and the ones I’ve seen are somewhat forgettable.  The premise of The Martian looked good and one that could amount to some fun and intense moments.  All these expectations were met and exceeded.  Its rare for me to stay engaged in lengthy movies and coming in at 2 hours, I’d say it borders along the length I’m not a huge fan of although most movies are averaging around that sort of runtime nowadays.  However, it never feels like its that long.  Even if he stays on that planet for something like 3 years or whatnot. This has to do mainly with pacing and the tone along with some good performances.

The Martian

I can’t compare it to the source material but nothing in The Martian ever felt like it was lost in translation.  The story pieced together well.  For one, The Martian is kind of like Cast Away but in space except it shows the other side of the spectrum working hard to bring him home, almost as hard as he is working to stay alive.  Its because of that, our endearing characters go from Matt Damon’s witty attitude towards this as he slowly transforms over the time in Mars by himself to the scientists at NASA working to get him back as soon as possible and to his crew that reluctantly had to leave him behind in the first place.  While this can be dramatic, it also is strewn with comedic moments to mellow out the seriousness of the situation.  In many ways, its the heart of having a positive heart that keeps you going in the first place or just its better to try to work stuff out then to give up. On top of that, the production design was great along with the visual effects.

The Martian

The cast here is pretty fantastic.  I’m loving that Jeff Daniels is in this one also.  Back to back movies with him is refreshing (the last one was Steve Jobs that I reviewed HERE).  Its also with a very different and much more serious performance from Kristin Wiig which I liked quite a bit.  At the same time, Chiwetel Ejiofor is a fantastic judge of picking decent movies to be involved with and his role in this one is dynamic to say the least.  Jessica Chastain might not feel like she’s in here for a long time and honestly, I didn’t even think her role was that groundbreaking, especially considering the crew also included Sebastian Stan who should get more bigger roles. A young actor Rich Purnell gets the small role of being the astrophysicist who kind of solves all the problems here and I’d truly love to see him in more movies because I loved his part.  But, Matt Damon blew me away.   It was a memorable performance full of energy.  Smart and funny; the latter adjective is something I never quite associated him with before.  Mark Watney is a great character and he did a great job bringing him to life on the big screen.

the martian

Overall, The Martian is a fun action-adventure movie.  It carries a good message, adds in some thrills, puts a little space twist, and is smart and comedic all wrapped up in a little bundle.  It works well and is an engaging story.  The cast and their performances were great from Matt Damon to Kristin Wiig to Jeff Daniels and much more.  Is it a Oscars material? Maybe not exactly fitting the normalcy and the format of it but it does have rewatchability and that’s even more important to me. It exceeded my expectations and I love that! 🙂

Did you see The Martian? What did you think of it? Are you a fan of Matt Damon? Any of his roles stand out to you?

2012 (2009)

There isn’t much to say about why I chose to see 2012 last night out of all the other nights but I guess I needed a bit of excitement since I’m still on cold meds and its making my brain rather dull.  I’m not sure how many people like to watch apocalypse movies but I like them a lot.  I’ll explain more after a little synopsis.  Plus, what makes this one more appealing is John Cusack doing this sort of movie? Interesting, no?

2012 posterDirector: Roland Emmerich

Cast: John Cusack, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover, Liam James, Morgan Lily

In 2009, Dr. Satnam in India urgently asks Dr. Adrian Helmsly (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to go see what he has discovered: that the Earth is heating up internally and that within a certain amount of years, it will cause the interior of Earth to melt and eventually displace the Earth’s surface causing the world to end. In 2012, word has broken out the end of the world is near as predicted by the Mayans.  The world’s end is approaching.  a divorced writer, Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), takes his children Noah (Liam James) and Lily (Morgan Lily) out for a camping trip at Yellowstone National Park to realize that something is going on and US Army is patrolling the area.  At the same time, giant crevices are developing back home in California and his ex-wife (Amanda Peet) and her boyfriend are part of that.  Through coincidence, he meets Charlie (Woody Harrelson), an apocalypse radio broadcaster (who seems a little crazy) and as events start matching up to Charlie’s words, Jackson fights against the elements to get his family away safely.

2012 scene

Such a long synopsis for such a simple idea. I’m still getting back into the review world.  I’ve been taking it really easy in this area.  There is no doubt that most of you would agree that when it comes to world apocalypse flicks, its pretty formulaic.  You get the huge effects of mass world destruction usually on an uncontrollable environmental issue.  The grandiosity of it could be one of the reasons that its enjoyable to watch.  Usually, it comes with some cheesy dialogue and a lot of fancy terms explaining the scientific phenomenon thats happening.  All that happens in 2012.  It also points out that California will be its first target.  2012 was released in 2009 and around that same time, we all learned about the rising rumors of how December 27th (I think), 2012 would mark the end of the world.  Some people believed it, some had their doubts and some just laughed at it.  Personally, it didn’t affect me that much.  I lived my life as I would, did the things I normally would because I already learned that making the most of everyday and being grateful was important.  However, I get it.  Its a scary concept to witness the end of the world.

 

Roland Emmerich is known (at least I know him that way) for all his big action and explosions and world apocalypse style movies.  I mean, Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow and now 2012.  All focus around some form of world ending, from aliens to environment.  The man is good at what he does.  I haven’t seen both of those other movies in a long time so I won’t be comparing it in this review.

2012 family

Visually, this movie offers some over the top CGI and although a bit exaggerated, it does match up to the grandeur that this movie demands.  Everything that happens is pretty captivating to watch.  I can’t imagine the world crumbling like that.  Its a bit crazy because things really turn south quickly.  However, with a lot of these movies, the plot does lean on the thin part.  I’m not saying that there are plot holes but things in these movies all end up with close to death but the most improbably situations always occur and most of the time, you can expect certain turn of events a mile away. Despite that fact, as it winded near the end, I felt like they had built it up to a good level of intensity.  There was a sequence where it was pretty convincing.

2012 John Cusack

2012 has a pretty impressive cast.  For one, we have in the lead, John Cusack who is the guy on the run, figuring out what is going on with the world while trying to save his family and survive this crazy end of the world mess.  As his ex-wife is Amanda Peet who I know I’ve seen somewhere but I can’t pinpoint where.  The kids are not too bad actually.  Sure, they both do some dumb things that movies like this like to lead the children to do but sometimes, it turned out to be intense but helpful, maybe leaning into the unrealistically brave. Plus, I just realize the son, Liam James, is the young Shawn from Psych (which I am currently binge watching) and the little girl was in one of my favorite movies, Flipped.  So yeah, that really helped that I really liked the cast here also.

2012

When we turn the table around and look at the political and government side, we have the leading scientist/environmentalist Chiwetel Ejiofor, the US President is by Danny Glover and we have the First Daughter with Thandie Newton, all of them are very good in their roles.  Although, Thandie Newton had a very limited appearance in the movie, somehow she has a lasting image in my mind.  However, I think one of the better roles was for Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Adrian Helmsly.  He challenged the authority and fought for saving the world in the a more morally correct way.  He was very human, just as the US President was portrayed as well.  Its usually roles like this that shine through in movies like this.

There really isn’t much else to say about 2012.  I have this feeling that I might have enjoyed The Day After Tomorrow a tad more but this one was done very well also.  My expectations are never high for these because the premise is very simple even with all the fancy scientific terms. I enjoyed seeing the cast on screen carrying out their roles and as the movie builds up to the great finale and finding salvation for all humankind, it builds on the intensity and delivers a decent ending.  Thats all I really ask for in a movie like this: to be entertained and to be swept into the whirlwind of crazy and intensity of over the top CGI.  Its had all that. If you’re into this sort of thing, I’d say its worth the watch 🙂

 Are you into these end of the world flicks? Which is your favorite? What do you think of Roland Emmerich?

Children of Men (2006)

This week, I plan on getting through 3 movies on Netflix that are going to expire on December 1st.  I decided to choose the first one using the highest RT Score and it happened to be Children of Men.  I’ve read a few positive reviews about it recently so it was one I had already planned to watch.  Knowing that Alfonso Cuaron, director of Gravity that I recently watched, loved and reviewed HERE was also the director for this one made it even more motivating. Lets check it out!

children of men posterDirector: Alfonso Cuaron

Cast: Clive Owen, Michael Caine, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Pam Ferris, Clare-Hope Ashitey

In 2027, the youngest member of the population Baby Diego dies at the age of 18.  There hasn’t been a child for eighteen years as the women have become infertile.  This causes chaos.  An activist group has now found a miracle and their leader, Julian (Julianne Moore) seeks the help of her ex-husband Theo (Clive Owen) to help get papers to help them transport a pregnant girl, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) to the Human Project, a refuge on the sea that tries to find a way to build up the population again.

Children of Men was an unexpected choice for a Saturday night Netflix pick.  I hadn’t intended on seeing it but it turned out to be a very good futuristic chase thriller. Children of Men is well-rounded with a thought-provoking script, a good amount of action, and portrayed with a great cast.

children of men clive julianne

I’m a huge fan of the cast.  I’ve seen some decent works from Clive Owen before (with one exception being The International *grimace*) I hate that one but in general, he’s great at these sort of thriller roles with a bit of action and suspense, fighting for a cause, etc.  He’s a pretty great actor and most of the time, he pulls me into the story effectively.  In this one, he plays Theo, a man that numbs his life with alcohol after his son passed away years ago.  He doesn’t really care much about whats going on but he gets pulled into this whirlwind of crazy when he decides to help his ex-wife and realizes that he’s in something that seems to be more than it actually seems.

children of men michael caine

My favorite part of the cast is Michael Caine.  Stick him in any movie and he usually is my fave part.  He is a phenomenal actor and in this one, he has some funny lines to loosen up the pretty tense situation. Although, the supporting actors and actresses didn’t get such a crazy amount of screen time, they did contribute in their small way with their great acting to give some substance to the thriller.  Julianne Moore had that same sort of effect.

children of men kee

Overall, Children of Men is an engaging thriller that touches on an interesting story about a possible future where humans are bordering extinction.  The drama and the struggle behind keeping mankind alive to bring hope for the future.  Although even now, I haven’t quite figured out if the first 30 minutes was just slow so it felt long or it was so much information overload that I felt tired.  But I promise, the following hour after that is pretty awesome! Plus, I didn’t know Alfonso Cuaron by name until Gravity but suddenly I realized he also made one of my fave parts of Harry Potter (I love the 3rd one).  So yes, I do recommend this 🙂

Are you a Clive Owen fan? Whats your favorite role of his? Did you see Children of Men?