Do The Math, Solve The Problem

The Martian

I realize that I said this same thing last week, but GOD this has been a killer movie season! And I assume it’s just going to keep getting better, because otherwise I will have to assume that it will get worse, which would mean that Mockingjay and The Force Awakens are probably not good.

Anyway, this is all a way of saying that The Martian is insanely good and I can’t believe I waited a month to see it, what is wrong with me exactly?

So, here are the facts as I understand them: Matt Damon is phenomenal actor who’s natural charm and charisma makes me emotionally invested in whether or not a potato is going to grow. (This is literally what happened, I’m not using hyperbole.) Ridley Scott has once again proven why he’s a master of his craft and has created a new gold standard of hard science fiction for me. (Granted, this is not a genre that I’m terribly literate in…)

Also, this is a supporting cast full of actors I love. Michael Pena is giving Keegan Michael Key a run for his money in “Movie Season Supporting MVP” between his role here and in Ant-Man, he’s wonderful here. Kate Mara is moving far away from “that actress who I always want to punch everytime I see her on screen” territory, and Sebastian Stan and Donald Glover have both restoked the crush fires by being distinctly adorable and handsome. Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig and especially Chiwetel Ejiorfor all deliver as well.

And then there’s Jessica Chastain, who has now reached, “just put her in everything,” status in my eyes. I have never seen this woman give a performance that isn’t exceptional.

The Martian is diverse, smart, funny, adult, engaging, moving and beautiful. So there’s that.

Rankings

  1. The Martian
  2. Straight Outta Compton (Let’s all take a minute to mourn it’s place at the top. I still, given what I’ve seen, think it should win Best Picture this year. But I think Scott should get Best Director and Matt Damon Best Actor. Note, I have not seen Bridge of Spies yet, and which might change this opinion.)
  3. Crimson Peak
  4. The Man From UNCLE
  5. Ant-Man
  6. Mad Max: Fury Road
  7. Inside Out
  8. Trainwreck
  9. Tomorrowland
  10. Jurassic World
  11. Ricki And The Flash
  12. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  13. Minions
  14. Fantastic Four
  15. Terminator: Genisys
  16. Entourage
  17. Pitch Perfect 2

Trailers

Secret In Their Eyes,  oof, this movie looks like it’s going to be tough to get through. But I am excited to see Julia Roberts take on this role. It’s so different from what any one would expect from her.

Mocking Jay Part 2: I have cried at the Hunger Games trailer, which means that we’ve fulfilled all of the movie season traditions. It looks pretty great. I’m excited.

The Revenant: Hey! Leo grew another beard! I generally like when he grows beards, but usually only when it’s for Scorcese…hmmm….

In The Heart Of The Sea…zzzzzzz…Oh, I’m sorry, I fell asleep.

Joy It’s time for, “how are David O. Russell, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper going to entertain us this year?”

Elysium?

Elysium

Yesterday, I went to go see Elysium. I’d put this one off for a while, mostly because I haven’t been feeling really smart lately, and I felt like there was going to be some serious thinking involved with this movie, you know, like District 9, which while being a totally awesome movie about aliens and blasters and all that sci-fi goodness, was also a very thought provoking look at xenophobia, immigration, and race relations.

So, here’s the thing, with Elysium. I think that Neill Blomkamp really wanted to say something with this movie. I’m just not sure what it was. Was it about illegal immigration? Or universal healthcare? I’m not sure. I didn’t get it.

Elysium seemed unable to make up it’s mind, whether it wanted to be a thought provoking look at anything, or a movie where two guys in robot suits that fight each other. Now, I have no problem with their being a combination of those two things, if you can make it a combination. I’m reading Orson Scott Card’s Ender Quintet right now. Obviously there are ways that you can do both. But Elysium doesn’t combine the two, it just keeps switching lanes.

The premise is simple enough, when the earth got used up, we left to explore other planets and teraform them…haha, just kidding. But it is staggeringly similar to Firefly. When the earth got overpopulated and polluted, the super rich built a space station to live on, away from the squalor. It’s called Elysium. People still live on Earth, one such person is Max, played by Matt Damon. My love of Matt Damon is such that I once spent two years calling him “my fiance,” but I don’t understand why they gave him this role. For one thing, it’s clear that Max is supposed to be Hispanic. He lives in a run down neighborhood in Los Angeles, his last name is Da Costa and every other character around him is Hispanic. I mean, I love color blind casting probably more than the next person, but this was one of those cases where I found it distracting.

Anyway, Max wants to go to Elysium really badly, and even more so when he has an accident that leaves him only five days to live, since on Elysium they can cure any sickness with a miracle technology called a med bay. Also, it turns out his childhood sweetheart, Frey’s daughter has leukemia, so that doubles his drive.

He makes a deal with a coyote named Spider to steal the data of a CEO in order to get to Elysium. Then things get hinky. Max’s best friend Julio (Diego Luna, ah, how I forgot him), gets shot , and the data that was downloaded into Max’s brain turns out to be far more valuable than previously anticipated.

The plot also involves the Secretary of Defense for Elysium, played by Jodie Foster, trying to overthrow the president because he’s too soft on illegal immigration to the station, or something.

Freaking, something. I don’t know. To me, this whole subplot was where the movie got too full of itself and confusing and couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. Already, Max has a ticking clock, with his 5 days, and an emotional push in Frey’s daughter. Plus he has the ability to override the station. That should be enough, but we’re also thrown a psychotic secret agent played by Sharlto Copely, and, I don’t know, it just all became too much for me.

All in all, I spent most of the movie scratching my head, trying to figure it out.

I don’t know, maybe I wasn’t smart enough for it.

Trailers:

Thor: The Dark World, Captain Phillips, Bad Grandpa, Yes, God Yes, and Please No

The Monuments Men: Chronicling the story of the army unit that’s main mission was to protect the cultural artifacts in World War II. The team is made up of George Clooney, John Goodman, Matt Damon, & Bill Murray. This movie will be a classic.

Rankings:

1. Pacific Rim

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The World’s End

4. Kick Ass 2

5. The Butler

6. Man of Steel

7. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

8. The Wolverine

9. Iron Man 3

10. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

11. Despicable Me 2

12. Star Trek Into Darkness

13. Elysium

14. Monster’s University

15. After Earth