Movie Review: The Martian (2015)

The martian Poster2Plot:During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive

Rating: 10/10

I have never, for any movie, given a full score on this blog. It stems from my grade four days where the teacher believed that nothing deserved a perfect score because then there wasn’t room for improvement (Such a cheerful woman).

Well, Mrs. Van den Berg, The Martian is perfect so I’m giving it 10/10. I can’t think of anything that annoyed me or should have been done in another way. The Martian is both a cinematic masterpiece and a feel good movie, which, as we know, is impossible to pull off.

Don’t be mistaken, you are going to sit and watch the Martian for a long time – it is very close to three hours. However, I did not even care about the time passing. Any shorter would have rushed the whole movie and it would not have been so good. Ridley Scott is in top form and I hope he stays that way. The pace of the movie is tightly controlled and he worked the cast to perform their best.

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I will question the sanity of the Academy if Matt Damon does not get an Oscar. The film also deserves the Oscar for best film. Mark Watney is perfectly written. He manages to be on Mars, stranded, dying, but still find a way to keep himself alive. He has made me more determined to pass Botany, because that shit saves lives. His humor and determination to solve problems, and the sad way he keeps himself sane and only loses it a handful of times makes him one of my favorite characters to ever be written.

 jessica-chastain-as-commander-lewis-THE-MARTIAN

I will start the discussion of support characters with Melissa Lewis, played by Jessica Chastain. Jessica Chastain is quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses. She carefully picks her roles so she doesn’t end up with mediocre movies; she is phenomenally talented as an actress and is incredibly beautiful. Melissa Lewis made an amazing woman and commander, the way she managed her team and how she went about it. It makes me really optimistic that there were so many strong female character roles in The Martian – it is uplifting and not one of them were typecast or silly or dumbed down at the end.

 Martian crew

Continuing onto the crew, I thought that Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Michael Pena and Aksel Hennie all did superb work as the other astronauts in the Ares III. They all had their independent roles and personalities and weren’t only there as seat fillers. I especially liked Alex Vogel’s (Aksel Hennie) love and commitment to his family. I found the smidge of romance injected into two of the character’s story really sweet and perfectly placed – it was only a very small part of the story.

Then the crew on earth had Sean Bean in, whose notable performance can be further celebrated by the fact that he did not die. It’s true, I’m not lying. They even injected a Lord of The Rings reference into one of his scenes, and I enjoyed that thoroughly. I really liked his character Mitch Henderson – Sean Bean can really pull of the quietly-dignified-but-still-disapproving look so well.

The martian eart

I can keep on discussing further performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor, MacKenzie Davis and Donald Glover but I won’t as this is getting to a rather long review. However, I will briefly mention Kristen Wiig, who impressed me by not being another comedic role and who did a wonderful job as the NASA spokesperson.

The humor that was part of the movie was perfectly written in and beautifully portrayed. The many uses of ductape was probably a favorite of mine – it is everywhere in the film. The adoration for coffee was another favorite as well as the exasperation you saw on so many employees’ faces when they were told to get a job done faster than what made sense.

The camaraderie between the astronauts was hilarious and touching. It seemed as if they were real coworkers and their banter was endearing.

Martian 1

There are a lot of things I want to keep on mentioning – I never want to forget how much I enjoyed this film the first time I saw it. Its success lies in being so human – Mark Watney does nothing that makes you pity him, but his lonely fate on Mars is heartbreaking to behold. His crew’s anguish in leaving him behind and how the citizens on the planet band together to bring him back home was a glimpse of the good side of humanity. NASA seems to be fangirling about the Martian as much as we are, and that makes it even more fun. I can’t help but think The Martian coinciding with the discovery that there is water on Mars isn’t a PR dream for them right now.

We probably can’t be friends if you dislike this movie. I am sorry. Go watch it, go like it, and come talk to me.

Series: Game of Thrones Season 1

got thrones

Ned Stark: “Winter is coming”

Contains spoilers 

Ned Stark (Sean Bean), the Lord of Winterfell, is visited by King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) and his wife, CerseiLannister (Lena Headley). He is asked to become the Hand of the King, the King’s chief advisor because the previous Hand died. Ned’s wife Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) receives a letter from her sister Lysa (Kate Dickie), in which she tells them that her husband, the previous Hand Jon Arryn (John Standing) was murdered by rival House Lannister of which Cersei is a member of. Ned travels South with the King and his two daughters Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sansa (Sophie Turner),on a quest to discover what happened to Arryn and still trying to protect his family. Sansa becomes betrothed to the son of Cersei Lannister and the King, Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson).Ned’s illegitimate child, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) decides to join the Night’s watch, an ancient brotherhood sworn to protect the people of the Seven Kingdoms from what lies behind the wall. It is rumoured that beyond the wall there lies a terrifying danger that have slept for a thousand years.

Ned’s young son, Brandon (Isaac Heamstead Wright) discovers the incestuous relationship between Cersei Lannister and her brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster), nicknamed the King’s slayer for killing the Mad King. Jaime pushes Brandon out of a high window and Brandon is paralyzed. When he wakes up he pretends to not remember what happened, perhaps knowing that he will die if he ever told anyone. He is visited by Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), the Dwarf brother of Queen. Tyrion gives him plans that describe the makings for a horse saddle made to help lame people ride. This makes Brandon’s mental recovery increase. He is attacked by savages while riding alone and his brother takes a woman as a slave instead of killing her. She and Brandon become friends when she carries him around places.

jaime

Jaime Lannister: “The things I do for love”

Catelyn stays by Brandon’s side, convinced that he did not simply fall. Robb Stark (Richard Madden) the eldest of the children takes over leading Winterfell because his mother has become obsessed that Brandon is still in danger. She is proven to be right when she and Brandon are attacked in the room and they narrowly escape death when Brandon’s wolf saves them. She is convinced the Lannisters are involved when she finds a golden lock in the tower Bran fell from, and decides to covertly visit her husband with it and the dagger she took from her now dead assailant. Back at the King’s landing, Ned Stark learns that Arryn died because he discovered a secret about the Lannisters and wants to know what it is.

Across the Narrow Sea on the continent of Essos, the exiled and arrogant Viserys Targaryen (Harry Loyd) lives. He is the Mad King’s son and Viserys believes that he is the rightful King of the Seven Kingdoms. To reclaim the Iron Throne, he needs an army to wage war on Baratheon, and marries his sister Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) to the leader of the Dothraki, a warrior tribe. Upon her wedding, Daenerys is gifted with three priceless dragon’s eggs. Her family, the Targaryens, are rumoured to have dragon’s blood in them. As there hasn’t been dragons seen for thousands of years, this isn’t something incredibly powerful. She is married off to KhalDrogo (Jason Momoa) and she has trouble adapting into her new life. When she learns how to please her husband, their relationship develops and she finds her confidence and voice as the Khaleesi of the tribe and through her and Drogo’s developing love. Daenerys becomes pregnant with Khal’s son and the tribe is overjoyed, and Viserys is terrified when he realises how much the Dothraki love their new Khaleesi. Without being able to bully his sister or intimidate Drogo, he threatens the pregnant Daenerys, much to his error.

 Khaleesi

Daenerys

Prince Joffrey and Sansa go on a walk and everything seems to go well until they encounter Arya and one her friends, a butcher’s son, practising sword techniques. Joffrey attacks the boy, and Arya defends him in turn. Joffrey wants to strike Arya but her wolf attacks him, biting his hands. Joffrey shuns Sansa’s help and lies to his mother, the Queen, and even though Sansa knows his story isn’t true she sides with him, alienating her sister when the wolf is sentenced to die. Ned asks to kill the Wolf because he will do it with dignity. The butcher’s son is found murdered.

Ned is working as the Kind’s hand and is shocked by how badly the Kingdom is being run. The King’s treasury is indebted to the Lannisters, something Ned does not like because it means the Lannisters are actually running the show. Ned is surprised when he is visited by Catelyn, brought to him by Councillor Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aiden Gillen). Baelish has been in love with Catelyn for many years and promises to help Ned Stark with his investigations.

Instead of heading south to the King’s Landing, Tyrion Lannister decides to travel with Jon’s entourage to the Wall. After a few bumps, a cordial relationship is established between Jon and Tyrion. At the Wall they hear tales of the White Walkers and Tyrion is requested to urge his sister to send more men to protect the Wall. Tyrion is captured on his way back by Catelyn, and she takes him to her sister for justice. Her sister went crazy after her husband’s death and she is very difficult to converse with. Tyrionplays the law card and is released after he gets someone to fight for him and the soldier wins the fight.

Ned hears that the King plans to kill Daenerys and her unborn child. Ned strongly disagrees with it and this makes him resign as Hand of the King. The Lannisters are furious that one of their family members was imprisoned by a Stark and Jaime and Ned fight each other. One of Jaime’s men stabs Ned in the knee and Jaime leaves him alive because he wants to kill Ned fairly. While Ned recuperates the King visits and they make amends and Ned takes his job back. He wants to sends his daughters back to Winterfell, much to Sansa’s disapproval. Ned discovers the huge secret Arryn was killed for – he found out that Joffrey was not the King’s son, but he is the son of Jaime and Cersei. Ned talks to Cersei, telling her that he will tell the King when he returns from the hunting trip. However, the King is attacked by a boar on the trip and dies shortly after his return. Before Robert dies, he appoints Ned as the regent of the Iron Throne until Joffrey is of age. However, Ned words the king’s last wishes as the “rightful heir” instead of “Joffrey”. Baelish assures Ned that the City Watch will back him taking on Cersei, but he is betrayed by Baelish. Ned is taken prisoner on treason charges for claiming Joffrey is not the rightful heir to the throne and he is thrown in the dungeons. During Ned’s fight and imprisonment, Arya manages to escape the castle but Sansa is caught and kept under the Queen and King Joffrey’s rule.

Joffrey
King Joffrey

When the Lannisters realise that Tyrion has escaped, they press their advantage over the Starks. Ned’s eldest son, Robb, wages war to get his father back, and he rally his mother’s father’s allies to war. As they ride to war, Sansa begs Joffrey mercy over her father. Joffrey beheads Ned and says this was a merciful death, and forces Sansa to look at her father’s head on a pole.

Meanwhile on the Wall, Jon has adapted to his new life. At first, he is only seen as the bastard son of Ned Stark, but he begins to make friends and earns respect on his superior fighting skills. He especially befriends Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), an overweight, awkward and friendless boy who was shunned by his family. Jon gets the rest of the guard to treat Sam kindly, and they soon discover that while Sam might not be the most brave or strong, he is intelligent and has a vast knowledge. Sam and Jon’s other friends become instrumental in keeping Jon alive. Deserting the Guard means death to the deserter and Jon is tempted to leave a few times – when he hears that his father has been imprisoned and that his brother Robb is marching to war against the Lannisters. Sam convinces Jon each time that they have their own war brewing on the Wall and Jon listens and stays. Two bodies are returned back from the woods beyond the gate – two men who used to be guards. These men “awake” and Jon’s wolf, Snow, sense something is wrong. Together they attack these “zombies” and they save the leader of the Wall’s life that way.

After Vicerys’s death, Drogo does not plan to continue his siege on the Seven Kingdoms. He changes his mind after an attempt on Deanerys’s life and begins to assemble gold by infiltrating small towns. Daenerys keeps some of the women who were sentenced to being raped and killed, angering Drogo’s warriors. One especially foolhardy man attacks Drogo because of Drogo’s ruling that the women must not be harmed and Drogo kills him but his blood is infected a dirty blade. Daenerys asks a witch to help save Drogo and she keeps his life at a terrible price – Daenerys loses her baby and Drogo lives in a catatonic state, forcing the heartbroken Daenerys to smother him as it is not something he would have wanted for himself.

Ned’s execution spreads to his family and the Kingdoms, triggering huge emotions. The warriors of the North proclaim Robb as their King and they march to the King’s landing, wanting Joffrey’s head. TywinLannister assigns his son Tyrion as the King’s Hand to keep Joffrey and Cersei from running amok. Daenerys burns her husband’s body and the witch that caused her child’s death and husband’s catatonic state, and burns herself amongst the Dragon’s eggs as well. She emerges the following morning, unharmed, flanked by three dragons and the remaining members of the Dothraki and their slaves bow to her.

Rating: 8.5/10

This is one of the best pilot seasons I have ever seen. It is gripping from the start, highly intricate and tells an epic story. The characters are excellently portrayed, each as entertaining as the next. The antagonists are murky and it is never clear who will betray who and what their motives are.

The costumes were something that gave me great joy. There was so much detail on each outfit and each Kingdom had its own specific look. The war paint on the Dothrakiespecially looked very well done.

The relationship between Khal Drogo and Daenerys was another key element of the success of the season. They started off very badly with her being sold to him, Drogo not being particularly nice about it. I admire Daenerys so much. She took her situation and turned it around, became respected and loved and found a partner that she deeply loved. Them eventually falling in love was the most beautiful part of the entire story, and I found his death excruciatingly sad, but understood that she couldn’t let him live in such a form and that he would not have wanted such a life.

You can’t be an internet user and not know the universal hate for King Joffrey. It is only at the end of the season that he truly becomes a little bastard but he does it so spectacularly that you immediately hate atrocious personality. I still find it extremely difficult to feel sorry for the Sansa Stark – she soooooo wanted him and now she is stuck with him.

Ned Stark: Oh my fucking life I love Sean Bean. He is a fantastic, brilliant man and he rocked as Stark. He was one of the best characters – he was brave and had dignity and would not let anyone do anything wrong as lond as he could prevent it. He had such a revering attitude towards his wife – something not found amongst the people in the Seven Kingdoms, especially their King (I will say that the Queen is equally messed up BTW) I hated Ned’s death – that was how Joffrey got his shithead title for me – and how he was just betrayed by everyone in the King’s landing. Couldn’t he have atleast lived to see his son beat the shit out of one of the Lannisters?

Tyrion Lannister – I seriously love him. He is so intelligent and wise and kind and NOTHING like the rest of his family.

Jon Snow: I have a major idea as to what is up with him but I will remain quiet and see if I am correct. If I am, it will be awesome. I really like him and think he is one of the only remaining men to be worthy of that Throne, if he ever would be a contender.

All the child actors in here: Children actors are most often than not dodgy. These kids rocked it. They are essential to the storyline and made the show just that much more enjoyable.

Everyone was so commenting about the sex and the violence in here (mostly the sex) but I really did not find it that bad. Sure, there were a few dodgy scenes (the INCEST) but overall it is just showing how the people of the Seven Kingdoms lived.

Another thing that I found well done was the magical elements. It is so casually introduced that it is never ridiculous. The amount of the unbelievable is so small that it is accepted into the storyline without much thought.

The storyline is very complicated but this is worth the watch. I love that you never know what will happen. I have NEVER been so scared of spoilers than now. I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN. Everyone is further along than I am AND I TRUST NO ONE. The episodes are long but I never felt it was too long. I cannot wait to watch season two, which will hopefully have some of the much talked about winter in.

Have you seen GoT season one? What did you think?

Five Things Friday: Five movie deaths that made me shed a tear

5 things friday pic

Hi there! It’s been ages since I’ve posted a Five Things Friday post – sorry about that. I’ve been crazy busy trying to finish my book challenge, reading enough books for it, posting them before the deadline (which is the end of February and I still have 15 books left!). I decided to kick start the 2014 leg of the five things series by posting five movie deaths that made me shed a tear (or at least gave me some shiny eyes). I’ve never been one to tear up in movies, but there have definitely been a few where I’ve felt incredibly sad when someone died. Enjoy!

Boromir in the Fellowship of the Ring

 ftf boromir

Through the entire journey from Rivendell, the snow on the Mountains, Moria to the Orc attack, Boromir struggles to fight the lure of the Ring of Power. Eventually the urge becomes too strong and he tries to take the Ring from Frodo. The Orc attack happens then, splitting the party up, but Boromir redeems his honour by dying for the Hobbits.

Boromir’s death scene is one of the most powerful of the movie and perhaps even the entire trilogy. It is about him reclaiming his honour and also about him declaring Aragorn his king.

Satine in Moulin Rouge

 satine

It is a Baz Luhrman film where everything feels real. Satine is lying on the floor dying in a beautiful Valentino dress just after declaring her love for Christian. The cast of Spectacular Spectacular are celebrating the success of their show. Satine just falls to the floor and Christian notices.

Floodgates.

Jack Dawson in Titanic

Jack-and-Rose-Titanic

Jack Dawson nearly didn’t make it onto the list. This wasn’t Leonardo DiCaprio’s best role, but he did a good job. What really got me wasn’t Jack floating down in the icy ocean; it was Rose’s subsequent actions and will for survival. Letting him go and choosing to live is the most powerful choice she made in the movie, including her decision to leave her wealthy lifestyle behind to be with him. Her courage made me very sad.

Dobby the House elf in Harry Potter the Deathly Hallows

dobby

Although much in the movies doesn’t do justice to the books, Dobby’s death was pretty decently done. The entire character was a success from his inclusion in the Chamber of Secrets (although WHY they didn’t include him in the subsequent movies – Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix and the Half-Blood Prince is beyond me because it signifies Dobby’s  importance in Harry’s life – his brave death and Harry’s reaction was really well done.

And the one movie where I actually started crying: If Only (2004)

if only poster

The entire movie you see how Ian Wyndham (Paul Nicholls) finds it easy to forget about his girlfriend Samantha’s (Jennifer Love-Hewitt) existence. Then she dies and Ian gets to turn time back and relive her last day. He knows what will happen, you do, and yet you can’t help but hope she will live. And then she does. Ian dies in her place and she gets to carry on. In that moment you realize that he really loved her incredibly much even though he forgot to show it. 

I cried so badly. It is the saddest moment where ion jumps over Samantha to protect her as the car crashes. Her realizing what his strange behavior really meant and that he was reliving the day and choosing to save her.

What movies had great death scenes that made you sad?