During WW2, someone in the US military finds out that Mrs Ryan is about to receive telegraphs advising her that three of her four sons have been killed in action. Someone decides that it would not be ideal for her to lose another, so they send Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) and a bunch of soldiers (including Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovani Ribisi and Jeremy Davis) to find him and bring him home. Along the way, they meet a whole heap of soldiers played by actors of note (Ted Danson, Paul Giamati, Dennis Farina, Nathan Fillion) until they finally find Private Ryan (Mattt Damon).
I think for me, this is one of my favourite Spielberg films – not because of the overly sentimental story (and certainly not for the appalling top and tailing of the film with ‘present day’ Private Ryan – that was so totally not needed), but I think because the images of WW2 and the way it represents soldiers. This film led to the wonderful miniseries Band of Brothers which is truly amazing. If you’re concerned that you can’t commit to a whole series, start with this. But be aware that Band of Brothers is much better and more comprehensive – but of course that is the difference between a 2 ½ hour film and a 10 episode series.
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.
David Norris (Matt Damon) is a young and successful politician who has the potential to rise all the way to the top – if he can avoid the fallout from a few scandals of his youth. After one, which has cost him an election, he meets Elise Seilas (Emma Blunt) in the toilets and they have an instant connection – and even a quick toilet snog. But then he is gone, and she is gone, but he can’t stop thinking about her. Turns out, there are a group of white men wearing hats who control the world. Oh, no, one single man from the Bureau is black – that’s Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie), and he is not so good at his job, because he likes the David Norris and wants him to get his girl, so breaks a few rules.
I do like this film, but I can’t get past the race or gender thing in it. I know what you’re thinking – blah blah blah, gender yet again, why can you not get over the fact that, even though we make up pretty much half of the world, we women should not get equal screen representation because who cares what women think, and hey, let’s not even consider women who are not white – but I’m sorry, reader, I can’t get over it. Sometimes, I am prepared to let a film be a story about men – sometimes, stories are set in a world which is filled with men and women aren’t there. But in this film, it’s a fictional world. There is absolutely no reason that at least some of the hat wearers could have been women. Some of the political folk around David Norris could have been women. His key advisor could have been a woman, any of the main people chasing him could have been women, there were so many chances to create a world that actually reflects our world. So, why is the only woman in the film the love interest? (Though, she was a character that I liked, sort of a non-Manic Pixie Dream Girl, even if she was a dancer with a sense of humour). And then, the race thing -ah, don’t get me started. Everything I just said about women could be said about non-white faces… although I suppose it is true, white men in suits rule the world.
Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) works in an abortion clinic and is having issues with her Catholic faith. Then she is visited by Metatron (Alan Rickman), an angel sent from heaven to participate in a religious mission – to stop angels Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) passing through a specific church door (that has been kind of opened so to speak by a local cardinal, played by the wonderful George Carlin). She’s being chased by a group of hocky playing skater kids/devils sent after them by Azrael (Jason Lee), and ends up accruing a gang of assistants; profits Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) and Jay (Jason Mewes), the thirteenth apostle, Rufus (Chris Rock) and Serendipity (Salma Hayek).
Kevin Smith ended up putting a clunky (though supposedly hilarious) disclaimer at the start, no doubt expecting a slew of criticism from a variety of different religious sections of society. As a non-religious person, but someone who grew up within a practicing family, I loved some of the concepts in this. Yes, I think Kevin Smith would have pissed off a lot of people with parts of this film, but why not? It’s a great yarn. Though I wish he’d let Silent Bob and Jay go – this film would have been much better without them, and I know it’s his thing, but still… And yes, I still think it was genius having Alanis Morissette playing God – certainly now it is a bit dated in that many folk may not recognise her, but I thought it was great.
Starting at Day 2, Contagion follows a virus that rips across the world, killing millions. It deals with individuals, companies, the government, conspiracies, all of kinds of things.
I remember seeing this in the cinema and being quite bored. It seemed slow and strange, and even though it killed off several of the more famous actors, it didn’t grab me. Yet I felt I’d missed something, and I’m so glad that I revisited it. It is not at all tedious, in fact it is totally compelling. It is fast and intense and, at times, really full on. I’d highly recommend it, though it is pretty darn depressing a lot of the time…
Lisa (Anna Paquin) is a teenager growing up in New York, trying to work out school and boys and a long-distance relationship with her father, and a challenging relationship with her mother. And then she witnesses a woman get hit by a bus and tries to figure out how this fits in with her life.
It’s an interesting film. There are scenes where the action happens in the distance, but the sound is of the events that are happening just off camera – conversations, fights, music, even just roadworks. And other scenes where dialogue is happening but the vision is something totally else. It’s strangely beautiful and mysterious. Unfortunately, for me, I feel like Anna Paquin is just so closely tied to Sookie that I found it very difficult to buy her as anyone else. There is a scene early on with a lot of blood and high emotions, and I couldn’t help feeling that it was all a bit True Blood. And once I got that in my mind, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
I liked it for the first, perhaps, two hours, but then I just got fed up with the drama that Lisa creates all around her, and the way people either confront her or just go along with her drama. By the end I just was fed up with it all.The accident scene was wonderful, made so in part by the wonderful Allison Janney. And the cast in general is very impressive, with Mark Ruffalo, Jean Reno, Kieran Culkin, Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick.
The world is dying. There is not much food and there is dust everywhere. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a farmer, but was previously an astronaut. Now, with his father (or father-in-law, I can’t recall if that matters) Donald (John Lithgow), he is raising two children; Murph (Mackenzie Foy, then later Jessica Chastain and still later, Ellen Burtsyn) and Tom (Timothee Chalamet and then later Casey Affleck). Then he ends up stumbling across a NASA station or something and gets roped in to a mission to explore possible inhabitable planets through a wormhole. There is the Professor (Michael Caine), a fellow astronaut, Brand (Anne Hathaway) and later the nice surprise of Mann (Matt Damon. Didn’t know he was in this film!).
Yawn. I just couldn’t get into this film. I couldn’t car about the characters, I didn’t have any particular care about the planet dying. I think it is a really well made film, if about an hour too long (it’s just under three hours). The one standout thing was the soundtrack – amazing, really bringing forth the emotion without being overly annoying or overbearing.
Interstellar was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Production Design, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score (Hans Zimmer), Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Visual Effects. It was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer) and BAFTAs for Best Cinematography, Best Original Music (Hans Zimmer), Best Production Design and Best Special Visual Effects