Movie Review: “The Martian”

Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Sebastian Stan
Ridley Scott

Sir Ridley Scott has never been the most emotional filmmaker. Most of the director’s movies have been driven by atmosphere and themes, not so much emotion. But that’s not the case with “The Martian,” a thrilling, human and moving sci-fi picture that is easily the most emotionally engaging film Scott has made in a long time.

Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is stranded on Mars. After a storm hits during the first human expedition to the planet, Mark and his crew are forced to evacuate. However, he gets hurt and separated from his fellow crewmembers, and they leave the planet without him, presuming their friend to be dead. But the charming “space pirate” and wiseass survives, and he has to find a way to communicate with NASA back home and create more resources to stay alive long enough to be rescued. Thankfully, he’s a botanist – and the best botanist on Mars, according to him – which comes in handy with his new mission: survive.

The movie is far from a one-man show. Scott put together one hell of a cast with Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Michael Peña, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mackenzie Davis and more. They all play a role in Watney’s survival. The film, based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name, is about the effort to save one man’s life. It’s about more than that, but first and foremost, it’s an inspiring story about the brighter side of humanity. “The Martian” is refreshingly optimistic, without any hint of naiveté, about the boundaries humans are capable of pushing and the effort we’d hopefully go to for one life. None of this comes off as phony or insincere, either.

Read the rest of this entry »


You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

Movie Review: “The Monuments Men”

George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Dimitri Leonidas
George Clooney

When news spread that George Clooney’s latest directorial effort, “The Monuments Men,” wouldn’t be making its original December 2013 release date, many people were surprised, to say the least. After all, nothing sounded more Oscar-ready than a World War II film based on a true story and starring some of Hollywood’s finest actors. Although the studio’s official response on the matter was that Clooney needed more time to finish post-production, it was most likely because “The Monuments Men” just isn’t a very good film. It’s a lot better than most of the dreck that’s forced down our gullets this time of year, but for a movie overflowing with promise, it’s hard not to feel the sting of disappointment.

Clooney stars as Frank Stokes, an American art conservationist who leads a small platoon of experts – including museum curator James Granger (Matt Damon), architect Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), sculptor Walter Garfield (John Goodman), theater director Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban), French art dealer Jean-Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin) and British professor Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville) – into Europe during the final year of World War II. Their mission is to protect various monuments and buildings from being needlessly destroyed by Allied forces, as well as locate and retrieve the Nazi-stolen paintings and sculptures hand-picked for Hitler’s planned Führer Museum. After completing basic training, the men split up to undertake specific assignments across the war-torn continent, with Granger heading to Paris to meet a fellow museum curator (Cate Blanchett) who could be the key to tracking down some of the world’s most important cultural treasures.

Read the rest of this entry »


Movie Review: “Elysium”

Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga, Sharlto Copley, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner, Diego Luna
Neill Blomkamp

It’s hard to put down a movie like “Elysium.” Let’s rephrase that: it’s actually quite easy to put down a movie like “Elysium” – it just gives us no pleasure in doing so. It’s a movie that urges people to think of the needs of others, and the satisfaction that comes from helping the less fortunate. A noble cause, to be sure, but in order to make his point, writer/director Neill Blomkamp (“District 9”) resorts to painting with an awfully broad brush, and the complex issues of health care and the distribution of wealth that “Elysium” seeks to tackle are marginalized by half. What’s left to enjoy are the visuals and some visceral hand-to-hand combat, which is nice (think “Terminator 2,” with humans), but this is a movie that had bigger fish to fry, and let them off the hook.

Set in the year 2154, Earth has become decimated by overpopulation and depleted natural resources. The wealthiest people have abandoned Earth to live on Elysium, an orbiting space station with the technology to cure any sickness in seconds. Max (Matt Damon) is a former car thief trying to live an honest life working on a factory line. Max is exposed to a fatal dose of radiation on the job, and in return the company gives him pills to manage his pain and sends him on his way. Max, with only days to live, hits up his former crime boss Spider (Wagner Moura) for a chance to jump on one of his bootleg trips to Elysium with the hope that he can heal himself. Spider agrees to help him, but Max must pull a suicide mission first. In doing so, however, they find a way to share Elysium’s technological advances with everyone on Earth; they’ll just have to get past Elysium defense secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her dirtbag sleeper agent Kruger (Sharlto Copley) first.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Man Who Would Be Edgar Pudwacker: Matt Damon’s 15 Funniest Appearances

On March 12th, Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass will be together again in theaters for their latest action thriller, “Green Zone,” a film set in the chaotic early days of the Iraqi War when no one could be trusted and every decision could detonate unforeseen consequences. Damon and Greengrass have clearly proven that they’ve got chemistry, what with their work together on “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum,” and we’re obviously looking forward to checking it out, but…well, here’s the thing: Damon’s a great action hero, but he can be pretty hilarious, too, and “Green Zone” doesn’t exactly look like what you’d call a laff riot.

To help cleanse your palate either before or after you’ve seen the film, however, we’ve compiled 15 of our favorite occasions when Matt Damon made with the funny. Your personal mileage may vary, but we’re guessing that, at the very least, you’ll get more laughs out of these clips than you will from “Green Zone.”

(Plus, don’t forget to head over to our “Green Zone” contest, where we’re giving away an Xbox 360!)

1. Glory Daze (1996): Okay, we’ll be honest with you: Damon’s barely in this film. It’s really a vehicle for his longtime buddy, Ben Affleck, who sports some seriously douche-tastic facial hair throughout the film. Although the remarkable number of recognizable faces to be found within the cast make it worth checking out (Sam Rockwell, Alyssa Milano, Matthew McConaughey, John Rhys-Davies, Kristin Bauer, French Stewart, Brendan Fraser, Leah Remini, Meredith Salinger, Mary Woronov, and Spaulding Gray all make appearances), the predominant reason we’ve included “Glory Daze” – which is, for the record, explores the hesitation all college graduates experience before entering the real world – is because no matter how many films he may eventually have to his credit, Matt Damon should never be allowed to escape the fact that, even though it was only for a few fleeting moments, he once played a character named Edward Pudwacker.

2. Dogma (1999): Kevin Smith movies aren’t generally where one goes to find eyebrow-raising theological discourse, but there are moments within this epic comedy that do indeed inspire such a reaction. Here, Damon – playing a fallen angel named Loki – proceeds to take a leisurely stroll through an airport and, in one brief conversation, casually destroy everything this poor nun has ever believed in. Why? “I just love to fuck with the clergy,” he says. “I love to keep those guys on their toes.”

3. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001): It’s not quite on the level of Buck Henry pitching a sequel to “The Graduate,” but watching Gus Van Sant counting his money as he makes “Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season” is still pretty funny.

Read the rest of this entry »


Related Posts