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The Martian - Film Review

Many years ago there was a time when famous director Ridley Scott created masterpieces within the film industry. Films by Scott such as The Alien Saga are considered classics and have been well received by critics, even to this day. Recently, however, Scott’s newest films have been mediocre at best.  He made some decent additions to the film industry, but the majority were major letdowns. However, this all changed when Scott directed and released his newest masterpiece, The Martian.

The Martian opened up in theaters on October 2nd, 2015. As of October 7th, it has already earned a total of $67 million in the United States, gaining more in a week than his previous film, Exodus: Gods and Kings, did during its entire run in theaters, only having earned a mere $65 million.

The Martian, based on the book of the same name by Andrew Weir, follows the story of astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) as he is left for dead on the surface of Mars. During an emergency escape, he is hit by a flying satellite that injures his heart monitoring device, leaving his squad members to presume him dead. They have no choice but to leave Watney, or to all perish on Mars. Once awake, Watney realizes the gravity of his situation, and immediately gets to work. With no prospects of being rescued anytime soon, he must figure out a way to increase his food supply on a planet in which nothing grows and survive the harsh years until the next ship lands on Mars.

Time moves fast in The Martian; by the end of the movie, over three years have passed. During those three years, Watney has to build and craft all sorts of new devices and habitats in order survive.  As soon as a part of the plot seems to dull, the film will shift focus to the executives at NASA, who are trying to discover ways to save their lost astronaut. Famous rapper Donald Glover (known by his rap name Childish Gambino) makes an appearance in the film as a worker for NASA who discovers a way to save Watney efficiently.

Scott’s choice of actors resulted in a stellar cast featuring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, and Jeff Daniels. All the characters  add something to the story and have their own responsibility regarding whether or not Watney will return home safely. There is also an unexpected frequency of comedic jokes within the film. Majorly spoken by Watney, the jokes make the protagonist appeal to the audience, who then wishes he will return home safely.

The Martian is definitely a film to watch as soon as possible, and the viewing experience will be even more enjoyable if viewed in IMAX. Scott’s idea is massive, and deserves to be seen on an massive screen.  Let us hope that from here on out, Scott’s additions to the film industry will only be at this quality or higher.

Sources: Rotten Tomatoes and Box Office Mojo.

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What to Stream - Apocalypse Now (1979)

There often comes a time at the box-office when a new brilliant movie is lacking. Take this weekend of September 12th for example, with the really only new, mediocre film being M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit. So how should you spend your precious movie-watching time? How about streaming a classic on Netflix?

Apocalypse Now is a powerful film from 1979 about the Vietnam War adapted from the novel Heart of Darkness. It follows Captain Willard, played by Martin Sheen, as he transverses the Vietnamese Wilderness in search of AWOL Colonel Kurtz. Willard encounters many friends along the way, as well as many troublesome situations.  Director Francis Ford Coppola captures the horror the soldiers in the Vietnam War faced on the battlefield. I won’t spoil the gripping story, but there are moments within the film that show how the environment these soldiers had to live in, really pushed them over the edge. Some of these soldiers truly lost their minds, and lead them to act irrationally.

Some of these scenes left me despondent, wondering why these soldiers acted so horrifically, but these scenes showcase Coppola’s ability to engage the audience. Also, Coppola’s perspective presented a sense of immorality and pointlessness to the Vietnam War. These scenes illustrate the meaning behind the title of Apocalypse Now, as it truly was the apocalypse to these soldiers stationed in Vietnam.

I could write for pages about how Coppola’s artistic cinematography enhances the film, or how the score adds an eerie tone, but in the end, it is the stellar cast that really makes this film. Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, and Harrison  Ford all play an essential role to this film. Their unique acting abilities in the film help create an emotional and powerful ride that blindsided me when I clicked the small play icon on Netflix. Even though this film is about war, it is certainly far from just an action-flick, and reaches an emotional level that all viewers can relate to.

Grab your laptop and turn off your light because it is time to watch one of the most powerful movies about the effects of war.

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