Dr Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an amazing surgeon until he has an accident and his hands are left injured and shaky. No longer able to work, he sees little point in life until he hears of a man he operated on who recovered from paralysis and he pursues this path, discovering a mystical world filled with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton – and I mean, what more could you really want? Magic? Sure, have some of that too.
I wish I had seen this in the cinema- the visuals are amazing. I found the movements that the magic people have to make a bit… geeky, really. Which was odd given how cool the magic itself was. I’m quite pleased that this guy is now in the Marvel Universe – I look forward to what next.
Doctor Strange was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects
On Mars, things can be unpredictable. Like, you may just be doing some routine things, collecting rocks or whatever and then a big storm can hit and you have to get out. But what happens when one of you gets left behind? Well, if you happen to be Mark Watney (Matt Damon), you are a lucky guy. You’ve got a whole lot of brains, and you can do stuff to keep yourself alive in the hope that your awesome crew and the folks back on Earth can figure out that you are still alive and try to work out how to get you back
Apparently a lot of the science is based on real science, but really, I don’t care. It was a good, fun film. Matt Damon gets to play a character who has a lot more personality than I’d expected. The supporting cast are pretty terrific, just check out these names: Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor and it goes on and on. I loved the suspense, the fear, the making things work -it was like a whole new and exciting Apollo 13.
The Martian was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role (Matt Damon), Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Writing (Adapted Screenplay). It won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Matt Damon) and was nominated for Best Director – Motion Picture (Ridley Scott). IT was nominated for BAFTAs for Best Director (Todd Hayes), Best Actor (Matt Damon), Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Sound and Best Special Visual Effects.
Ah, so here is San Andreas a few years before San Andreas and much bigger, but essentially, a very similar story. There is the massive disaster (San Andreas is just the fault and huge earthquakes. 2012 you have that and also the entire destruction of the planet). There is the divorced couple, the woman (Amanda Peet in this film) with two kids (ok, San Andreas has just the one kid, but then she picks up a couple of mates), and the idiot new boyfriend/husband (this one not as much of a fool, but still, he’s a plastic surgeon and handily is learning to fly). And then there is our hero. In 2009 and 2012 (I love the way that works), it is an author, supported by a few fabulous science type folks (John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofor) but now, in 2014, we got muscle man Dwayne Johnson, a rescue worker. But, the plot is just about the same. Man needs to save family, including estranged wife, and wins.
So, two crazy films that are far too similar and really, I loved them both for what they are all about. Is the Mayan Calendar right? (Well, no, come now. It’s 2015, we know that was wrong). Will the world collapse? Who knows. Probably not as spectacularly as this, but still. Will we have heroes that rush to save their ex-wife and children and puppies? Probably. At least, I can hope so. And the big question… The Rock or John Cusack? Hmmm… Can we have two heroes? (Plus, fabulous to have Woody Harrelson being a nutter. Jeepers, he is good at that role!)
2027. All of the people in the world are infertile. The youngest human, eighteen-year-old “Baby Diego” has just been killed and everyone is mourning. Theo (Clive Owen) is suddenly and violently approached by his ex-wife Julian (Julianne Moore) to assist in getting Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey), a young, pregnant woman to safety.
It’s an amazing thought – the human race dying out not from illness or disease but just not being able to make more. What drives people as a species to keep going? And what would really happen to the miracle – the occasional person who falls pregnant? This is not an easy film to watch. It’s violent and emotional and does not pull punches at any time. But it is wonderful, and beautiful, and I hope that I have the guts to watch it again sometime.
Children of Men was nominated for Oscars for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Alofonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby) Best Achievement in Cinematography and Best Achievement in Film Editing.
Based on a true story, 12 Years a Slave tells the story of free man Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who lives in New York with his wife and two children, making a living as a musician. When his wife and children are away, he takes a well-paying job in Washington only to find himself drugged and beat, and taken down south to be sold as a slave. His first owner, Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a fair man (despite the whole owning slaves thing), but employs the cruel Tibeats (Paul Dano) who hates Northup for being smart and outspoken. After Northup stands up to Tibeats, Ford fears for his life, and sells him to the cruel drunkard Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). Epps regularly beats and humiliates his slaves, although takes one of the young women, Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o) as his lover. It is not a spoiler to say that eventually he is Northup is freed – it is in the title after all.
It is an extremely good film made from difficult subject matter. It is appalling to think that slavery existed at all, much less that it was common for people to think of men and women (and children) of African heritage as lesser beings. Having said that, there is still slavery in the world. I haven’t come across a film that addresses slavery in modern times; I’d be interested to know if there has been one, and wonder if I have the stomach to watch it.
I found it interesting, however, that for a film with such intense subject matter and excellent acting, I was not greatly emotionally moved. I only cried a little at the end, yet this is surely the type of film that I would have expected to have me in floods of tears. Perhaps it was the weird couple who came into the almost empty cinema, very loudly, thirty minutes in, sat behind me still talking loudly, then the woman sent the man out for M&Ms (we all know because she shouted across the entire cinema as he left). I actually felt fearful of shhhing (they were really weird) and so I moved, but perhaps that whole thing put me off. Though, I think it was just that I did not get a huge chance to connect with Northup throughout. I disliked what was happening to him, but in a very detached manner.
Best Film Oscar? I’m nearly through all the 2014 nominations, and so far, yeah, I reckon it was. I still have Captain Phillips and Philomena, but of the bunch of them, this comes out ahead for me.
12 Years a Slave won Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Lupita Nyong’o) and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Fassbender), Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Achievement in Production Design. It was also won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Drama and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Michael Fassbender), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Lupita Nyong’o), Best Director – Motion Picture (Steve McQueen), Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (John Ridley) and Best Original Score – Motion Picture. It won BAFTA Awards for Best Film and Best Leading Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and was nominated for Film Music, Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o), Best cinematography, Best Editing, Best Production Design and Best Direction (Steve McQueen).