I‘m likely in the minority when I admit that I didn’t love Andy Weir’s novel The Martian. I enjoyed the overall arc of the story, but the log entries (narrated first person by the obnoxious protagonist Mark Watney–played in the film by Matt Damon) drove me bonkers.
Despite this, while reading it, I kept thinking how this could be one of the few books that’d work better as a film… and apparently Ridley Scott thought so as well. If you’ve yet to read the novel, many have described it as Apollo 13 meets Cast Away. It follows an astronaut stranded on Mars who has to problem-solve a way to survive and the subsequent attempt by his crew to rescue him.
Along with Damon, the film stars Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Sebastian Stan, and Aksel Hennie, Sean Bean, Mackenzie Davis, Donald Glover, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Jeff Daniels. As I predicted, the film does look great. We’ll find out how great when it drops into theaters on November 25, 2015.
After a three year hiatus, Spielberg is back behind the camera, re-teaming with his favorite cinematographer Janusz Kamiński but sans his favorite composer John Williams (albeit in exchange for the still great Thomas Newman). Despite having Joel & Ethan Coen as co-writers on the screenplay, Bridge of Spies seems to be a little more Munich and a little less Catch Me If You Can.
Starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda, the film is a Cold War thriller about a lawyer (played by Hanks) who is chosen by the American government to represent a Soviet spy in American courts–and, well, you can watch the rest of the trailer to get a better sense of how this affects the lawyer’s life.
Bridge of Spies hits theaters on October 16, 2015.
One of the big comic surprises at The Fantasia International Film Festival last year was the Mark Duplass and Elizabeth starring twilight zone romance, The One I Love. The other big comic surprise was the Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice starring slow-burn found footage character study, Creep. Duplass is a master of just making your skin crawl, and owns every inch of the screen, while he co-star, Brice directs the picture. It probably cost nothing to make, but it is a treasure that keeps on giving up on the screen.
When a videographer answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job in a remote mountain town, he finds his client is not at all what he initially seems.
Creep will be hitting iTunes on June 23 and Netflix on July 14.
No, this is not the latest ABCs of Death short blown into a feature. It is in fact the latest film from one of the current most underrated indie auteurs, Craig Zobel (Compliance, The Great World of Sound) and starring Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris Pine. Prepare for an end-of-the-world cocktail that appears to be equal parts The Road, and Night of the Living Dead with a love triangle in the middle. Z For Zacharia has been one of my most anticipated movies of the year since its debut at Sundance, and the trailer looks like, in the acting department, it will deliver.
Only one word of advice to all the screenwriters out there: Stop naming character Caleb. Please stop. Thanks.
In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.
The latest character posters for Mission Impossible 5 features the British actor known for playing icky villains or low-lives in small UK productions (remember his Drexl-type drug dealer in Harry Brown or his assassin in A Lonely Place To Die?) or, more recently, seen in big Hollywood productions (as in the gutter-punk geologist who gets lost in the caves in Prometheus).
The rest of the clean (Alec Baldwin and Simon Pegg are also looking sharp) and uncluttered Ghost Protocol character posters can be found here.
It is never going up the mountain in these types of films that is a problem. It is always coming back down. Jason Clarke, sporting his native Aussie accent (not seen other Hollywood Blockbusters such as Zero Dark Thirty or Dawn of Planet of the Apes) accompanies a great cast, including Jake Gyllenhaal, John Hawkes, Michael Kelley, Josh Brolin and Sam Worthington up the side of the worlds tallest peak, while their wives, most prominently Keira Knightley (also, possibly Emily Watson and Robin Wright who are also in the cast) hold their breath and cry on the other end of a telephone.
Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur is a master at what he does, in whatever genre, and he manages to keep the humanity balanced with expectations of genre. See his other triumph over disaster effort, The Deep, which is really quite excellent.