Rapid Review: The Martian (2015)

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“I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.”
– Mark Watney

SYNOPSIS: 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. – via IMDB

the martian

GRADE 7This was something I was looking forward to seeing because, well, Matt Damon. Yep, I will watch the man anywhere. Knowing it was a Ridley Scott film, I was tentative (come on, Exodus is still way too fresh in our minds to dismiss). He can either be brilliant or he can really suck. But back to space? Sure. Right off the bat, my fiancé was not a happy camper by the time this was over. While he said it was good, he was hoping for something more like Interstellar or Alien, and he got neither, but this does not mean the movie was crappy, it’s just not something he is going to rush again. I know there are a few people that feel that way. So, for me, the movie really isn’t bad. I was entertained and there was a lot to like, even with the shortcomings of it. However, I certainly don’t feel that the movie is worth all the hype that is running rampant about it, truly. I was a huge fan of Matt Damon in this, he just totally owned that role of Mark Watney, and he was geeky, nerdy, hilarious and resourceful, and he was entertaining every second he was on screen (not that I expected any less). Also, let’s not forget Sebastian Stan in 3D, something I can always easily get on board with because so much deliciousness there – but I totally could have done with more of him on screen. I loved the science side of the movie, and how it came together. I was a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings reference in the movie because a) Lord of the Rings and b) Sean Bean was present for the whole thing! I thought seeing the multiple uses of duct tape to be fabulous and provided me with plenty laughs, and the disco music Watney was subjected to? Priceless, and made for a hilarious soundtrack to the film. The film is visually stunning, and I was mesmerised from the off by it. All of this, however, does not make a great movie, there were some things I took issue with. The biggest flaw of this movie is the fact that everything happening on Mars is fascinating and engrossing, but the Earth element just does not measure up and falls short in too many places. Let’s not forget the silliness that was Rich Purnell, and no, I do not say that in an endearing way. The character was annoying to the nth degree, and made me cringe. Not to mention the movie was filled with things slotting into place at just the right moment, and information coming to the fore at just the right time, which made it a little too convenient for me to fully buy into. I found Watney’s crew to be incredibly underutilised – come on, they could have been more present, Chastain was criminally underused here. Some of the zero gravity movement looked a bit stiff for me, and I was incredibly unimpressed with the way that Watney loses all that weight as he stays on Mars, and a body double was used to represent this, yet the moment he is back in his (skintight) suit, he is all buff again. The script and pacing was all over the show, as well, and I thought it lacked inventiveness. Despite all this, The Martian is shot wonderfully, showcases a solid return to form for Scott, and is worth a watch at least once even though it is riddled with some silly faults.

Rapid Review: Fury (2014)

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“Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.”
– Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier

SYNOPSIS: April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. – via IMDB

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GRADE 9Wow. Wow. I know that I was looking forward to this, I was very excited and all that, but wow. I love a good war movie, always have, always will I think. I love them like I love a good mob film, so either way, I knew that this should be good, I’ve been anticipating, and you all know I will watch anything with Brad Pitt in it. Fury didn’t fail to blow my mind, and I was reeled in and engrossed for every second of this film. What a goodie. There is so much that I want to say about it, but I am not quite sure if I can articulate it all. Let me see what I can do. Fury had everything going for it, I must admit. It has a great cast to carry the film, and let me tell you, not a single one of them disappoint. Brad Pitt embodies a soldier, a man who loves his men, but who has hardened due to the horrors witnessed. Jon Bernthal is reprehensible yet excels at it, Logan Lerman is definitely a young actor to keep your eyes on, Shia LaBeouf delivers another solid performance (he really isn’t a terrible actor people, even if he is weird), and Michael Peña also brought the goods to the table. The movie had some phenomenal sets, and not once did Fury hold back on depicting the horrors of war. Not once, and there were some really rough things that happened. It is a slow paced film, but never once gets boring. There are scenes that play out for a while, but instead of feeling like a filler or a waste of film, they drive home certain points that are being made. I enjoyed the character development of these men living together in a tank, though the most development certainly went to Pitt’s Collier and Lerman’s Norman – both characters who impressed me. The score worked so well with everything that was going on, and there were plenty times that I was at the edge of my seat and tensed up. The camera work was simply stunning, and things were so realistic at times it was frightening. I was horrified at the best of times at what I was seeing, and I thought Ayer was wonderful in the way he maintained all the emotion and injected it into all the scenes. I thought the pacing was good – like I said, slow and deliberate, and that was so great for me. Fury is such an intense film to go into, it was simply breathtaking, amazing, wonderful, gritty, dirty and nasty and truly heart-breaking. It conveyed all these emotions, and is definitely one of the best films of 2014 (struggling to find another 2014 to compete with it on the same level, actually). It is not like Fury will revolutionise the way we look at war movies or anything like that, but it was solid, consistent and knew what it wanted to do from the off. Also, one cannot neglect to mention the credits rolling at the end, they were done well you just sit there, watching, still turning over what you watched as well as seeing the work put into that. The music complements it, and the red and black and violence? Perfect summation of a great film. Obviously I cannot recommend this film enough. Go, go now. Go see it.