The Martian (2015) Review

The Martian (2015)

Directed by Ridley Scott

Based on The Martian by Andy Weir

Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
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.

My Opinion:

I finally saw this! Can you believe I didn’t see this one until now? Especially as I absolutely loved the book (which I reviewed HERE). Hmm. Yeah, it’s good! It’s of course not as good as the book (not many films are). I never enjoy a film as much if I’ve read & really loved the book and the same is true with this one. But I still really liked seeing the book brought to life.

First of all, I should say that Matt Damon did a good job. I was at first annoyed when he was cast as he’s not at all how I pictured Mark Watney but I managed to accept him as the character. I’m disappointed, though, that the movie really didn’t capture Watney’s great sense of humor. It tried & there was a bit of that but I still didn’t connect with the character in the film the way I did in the book. The movie was much more a “drama” than the book was but I suppose that makes sense as to make it too much of a comedy could have been a flop.

All in all, the movie was quite faithful to the book until the end when things were changed a bit & added. I can’t really complain – I’m happy it stayed as faithful as it did. I hated Kristen Wiig – she was the only mistake as far as the casting went. The film looked great & I far preferred all the scenes on Mars (as to be expected). The movie got a little cheesy at the end but I can forgive that as, if this was a true story and a man was really left behind on Mars, it would be a very big story and I believe the whole world would rally around him in the same way.

I was surprised to look this up on IMDB and actually see a lot of negative reviews. Really?! I can’t say I understand that. I got the impression that those giving negative reviews were either “bored” because of all the science or were bitching that the science was “wrong”. It’s a fictional story, for crying out loud – it’s just meant to be entertaining. And for those who were bored, I hope they don’t read the book because there’s waaaaay more talk about growing potatoes and making water. How dare they stick some science into a science fiction movie! Whatever. People suck.

I’m sorry – I’m distracted. I don’t feel like writing reviews much lately. I’ve just gone & started The Good, The Bad And The Ugly and I have no idea why as it’s 1,183 minutes long. I’m 36 minutes in. Does it get better?! Because, so far, I’d have to say that Once Upon A Time In The West was way better by this point. Well, at least the score is awesome. Yeah, I’m done reviewing The Martian, I guess. Here’s a summary!

Summary:

The Martian, although of course not as good as the throughly entertaining book, still manages to stay pretty faithful and mostly captures the spirit of the book. It’s not quite as much fun as the book and takes itself too seriously at times but I can see why they made it a little more dramatic. Damon was good, as usual, but he’s one of those actors that I always just see as the real-life person. Not his fault, I suppose – it’s just that way with certain actors. So it was more “Matt Damon is stuck on Mars!” than “Mark Watney is stuck on Mars!” for me. Overall, it’s a sci-fi movie and I am rarely disappointed by sci-fi movies (except for Elysium, which I watched after The Martian! Ugh). I’d recommend this movie but, as you can probably guess, I’d most definitely recommend reading the book first.

My Rating: 7.5/10

**I’ve now seen all the Best Picture Nominees other than Brooklyn & Bridge Of Spies. Sadly, they both become available on DVD just after the Oscars so I won’t be seeing them beforehand. Still, I’ve done well this year! Here are My Best Picture Nominee Reviews & Ratings (from favorite to least favorite):

Room – 9/10
Mad Max: Fury Road – 9/10
The Martian – 7.5/10
The Revenant – 7.5/10
Spotlight – 7/10
The Big Short – 5.5/10

Steve Jobs (2015) Review

Steve Jobs (2015)

Directed by Danny Boyle

Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

Based on Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac.

My Opinion:

My husband dragged me to this movie. Are any fun movies going to come out at any point? I hate this time of year! They always drag out all the “worthy” films at this sort of time. I need braindead veg-out movies for the crazy holiday season. Like… Road House! I wrapped some presents last night while watching Road House for the first time. Holy shit that movie is f*%king hilarious. Why did no one tell me how awesomely bad that movie was?! I think it may be my new yearly Christmas-present-wrapping movie. Anyway, Steve Jobs was better than I was expecting for a “biography” film about an unlikeable guy & technology gobbledygook.

This movie was a hard one to get into at first but, by the end, I really liked how they chose the run-up to three big product launches to tell his story. To my satisfaction, any gobbledygook technology talk was kept to a very bare minimum. The movie really doesn’t show you anything of the beginnings of his career, though (or the final years & his biggest products).

If you want a very detailed & in-depth look at the career of Steve Jobs, I wouldn’t say that this movie is the place to start as it only highlights part of his career. I have no problem with this, though – you can read books about all that. This movie focuses much more on his personal life and his behavior toward work colleagues and, especially, his relationship with his daughter. I find this sort of thing much more interesting and was happy that the movie chose this direction and that it had some great performances from everyone involved.

I’ll state the obvious & say that Michael Fassbender looks nothing whatsoever like Steve Jobs. Not that I’m going to complain about getting to look at hottie Fassbender but it was a little distracting & I can’t say that I at all felt like I was watching “Steve Jobs” up on that screen. Maybe it didn’t help that I knew nothing whatsoever about Steve Jobs (and still don’t, I suppose – but I can say that this movie definitely doesn’t try to make you like him). Fassbender did a very good job as always, though – I guess it’s not his fault that he’s just too hot.

The true highlights of this film were Kate Winslet and, surprisingly, Seth Rogen. Oh yeah – and Jeff Daniels was very good too! Nice seeing him again as I can’t think of the last thing I saw him in. Speed?? Which makes me think of Keanu Reeves. Which makes me think of Patrick Swayze in Point Break. Which makes me think of Road House again. Seriously – if any of you haven’t seen Road House, you NEED to. Sam Elliott is such a stud. Anyway, Winslet, Rogen & Daniels are all truly fantastic in Steve Jobs so I certainly can’t fault any of the performances. There’s some damn fine acting in this. Unlike in Road House…. Good lord!

Summary:

Steve Jobs is a very good film but it’s not for everyone. It’s one you should watch if you are a fan of any of the actors as they’re all at the top of their game here. Just be aware that it focuses only on the relationships that Jobs had with the most key people in his life and that you see only a pretty small portion of his years on this Earth.

The direction that the film chose, to have everything revolve around three product launches, may not work for everyone but I thought it was a simple yet very effective way of telling his story. His life DID revolve around his work (so far as I can tell from what very little I know of him) so I think it was a very fitting way to tell his story. The people in his life had to fit around his primary focus, which was his career and his products. I should also point out that this movie very much felt like a play, which some will love & some will hate. I have to say that I liked this film more than Sorkin’s The Social Network and it’s the best thing Danny Boyle has done in a while.

Steve Jobs admittedly deserves a slightly higher rating than I’m giving it but I have to admit that, while it’s good, it’s very unlikely that I’d ever watch it again. Unlike Road House! That’s a multiple-watcher!

My Rating: 7/10

Review written on my iPhone

101 Dalmatians (1996) Guest Review

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This review for the John Hughes Blogathon comes from Rae of Fearsome 5 (& family!). Thanks for being a part of this blogathon, Rae! Let’s see what she thinks of 101 Dalmatians… 🙂

I’m so excited to be participating in the John Hughes Blogathon! I hate to admit (since this month is all about him!) I got on the Hughes train a little bit late. Better late than never right. Anyway, 101 Dalmatians, for which he did the screenplay, was definitely a favorite when I was younger and didn’t disappoint while watching again years later.

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To start…this film is full of familiar faces: Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, Joan Plowright, and Hugh Laurie. I felt they did a believable job playing the characters, which could be hard to do since almost everyone has seen the cartoon. It’s hard not to think about the cartoon while watching this, but this movie was really good in itself!

In case anyone doesn’t know, this movie is about a crazy, wild fashonista that kidnaps a crapload of dogs for the sole purpose of making a fur coat.
Glenn Close was creepy good as Cruella De Vil. Some of the silhouette shots of her laughing were spot on and oh so evil! She did great bringing one of my favorite villains to life. I mean, look at this lady…

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(Yikes! The hair totally reminds me of Edward Scissorhands…and also my hair on most days 😉 )

I was also surprised at how well the film works with real (and some animated/computer) animals. They were so well trained and seemed to convey emotion so well…how do they do that?! A lot of the film has no dialogue, just barking and animals running around, but it works. And they’re so cute J I was looking up pictures on IMDb and saw that 203 Dalmatian puppies and 20 adults were used for this film. After watching, I wish I could adopt about 20.

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I’m not super big into slapstick comedy, and this movie had a lot of it. I’m guessing kids would probably love that though. At times, it felt sort of like watching Home Alone but with animals instead of Macaulay Culkin.

Some other interesting facts about this movie…

The actors had steak juice rubbed on their skin so the dogs would lick them. And Jeff Daniels had hot dogs rubbed all over his face to get shots like this.

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And, back to John Hughes, apparently he made more money from 101 Dalmatians than any other movie due to a piece of merchandising profits in his contract. (from IMDB)

All in all, this movie was a lot of fun! I enjoyed watching it again now almost as much as I did when I was younger. This is one the whole family could enjoy.

Thanks to Table 9 Mutant for hosting and to everyone for all the fun reviews-I love reading them all!!