Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Martian

The Martian
(2015) Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig, Aksel Hennie, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis

martian

So I went to see The Martian at the cinema tonight. I was hopeful yet wary at the same time. The book was so amazing, and I know how Hollywood loves to change things up, so I was a little scared. I also was iffy about the casting of Matt Damon. I thought he might be too “big” for the role, too good looking. Mark Watney was described as being a little geeky, and Matt’s not the first name to come to mind when I hear “geeky”. But my fears were all unfounded, this was a great piece of film. Matt easily pulled off Mark’s geeky charm and sense of humour, but was also there when he needed to be serious and more dramatic. There was a lot missing from the film that was in the book, but that’s to be expected, there’s no way to fit everything, but everything important was there, and they didn’t add any useless Hollywoodized crap. There was just one thing that pissed me off a little, and that was that they changed a character’s race and first name. In the book, one of the NASA people is called Venket Kapoor, and he’s Indian. In the film they made him black and changed his name to Vincent. The rest of the racially diverse cast is right, so why change that one? It’s ridiculous. But that’s really the only bad thing I have to say about the film. Everything was great, good acting all round, great story, nice visuals, even the usually annoying 3D was alright. And so it gets an almost perfect 9.5/10 from me!

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Hunt for the I-5 Killer

The Hunt for the I-5 Killer
(2011) John Corbett, Sara Canning, Tygh Runyan, Andrew Wheeler, Matt Bellefleur, Mike Dopud, Kirsten Robek, Garry Chalk, Bo Derek

i5-killer

This movie has been on my pvr for probably over a year, so I finally decided to watch it. I was a little leery (ok, a lot leery) at first because it’s an IFC film, and those tend to be pretty awful, but I do love me a good serial killer film, so I decided to give it a go. And I was pleasantly surprised. It was so much better than I’d been expecting. The acting was pretty good all round, Corbett doing a great job as the harried detective in charge of the case, and the killer, who was surprising when we found out who he was, was suitably creepy. I’ll be curious now to read up on the case now (it was a true story), since at the end there was a disclaimer that said some things were fictionalized, to find out what actually happened. Maybe it wasn’t so bad in real life..? No, I guess that’s just me dreaming again. I’m really glad that the cops were finally able to nail the fucker who did it to the wall though. Sicko. All in all, a pretty entertaining true crime film. I just wish it wasn’t on IFC. I hate bloody commercials…

7.5/10

This film isn’t currently on Netflix, but if you can find it, it’s worth your time 🙂

M.

Mel’s 10 Things About… The Calling

The Calling
(2014) Susan Sarandon, Gil Bellows, Topher Grace, Christopher Heyerdahl, Ellen Burstyn, Donald Sutherland, Kristin Booth, Kevin Parent

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{SPOILERS AHEAD}
1. Acting ranges from mediocre to good.
2. The main character, Hazel, is thoroughly unlikable, so it’s hard to care when stuff happens to her.
3. Super intriguing story, unfortunately delivered poorly.
4. There were some really good scenes, but they were surrounded by ultra boring filler.
5. The ex-husband sub-plot was completely pointless, it does nothing but make us like Hazel even less.
6. The very last scene is eye-roll inducing. Are we supposed to believe that the spell actually worked, in a film that had nothing supernatural in it till that point?
7. Was hoping to see some change in Hazel at the end, after what she went through, but when presented with booze at the hospital she just quips about not having ice and glasses. Her plea for a second chance? Wasted 3 seconds later.
8. Was expecting a whole lot more from such a cast. Sarandon, Sutherland, Heyerdahl, even Topher Grace for heaven’s sake! Totally wasted on this film.
9. The killer was nice and creepy though. I’ll give the film that much.
10. A minor quibble, but the title seems wrong to me. Simon wasn’t following some “higher calling”, he was trying to work a religious spell. The Disciples would have been better, or… well anything but The Calling, really.

4.5/10

Review Club #9 – The Theory of Everything

theory of everything

First up is my DH Francois, from over at FrankishNet:

I was actually very surprised by the twist of the movie. It really is about Jane, rather than Stephen. A very deep and emotional discovery of their relationship, and the constant struggle.

She signed for a 2 years trip, and the trip lasted so much longer. They present the duality of her feelings in a stunningly well played manner. On one side, she loves him and is incredibly happy that his life goes on. On the other side, she is consumed by needs and dreams she cannot live with Stephen, and the caring for him is draining.

Jonathan, Stephen, Jane, they were all very well played. Great acting!

It really was not the sort of movie I expected to see when sitting down for a movie about Hawking, especially with the name “The Theory of Everything”, but that is simply because I had not read the synopsis, and assumed it was like “Hawking”.

I really enjoyed it.

Up next is Rob, from over at MovieRob:

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are both amazing in this movie as Hawking and his wife. Their performances alone make this movie a must see.

I personally wasn’t even remotely aware of most of the history told here and it was great learning about their troubled lives and how they both worked together to realize his dreams despite his debilitating disease.

Excellent acting by the two leads elevates a good story to something even better. Very informative and eye opening biopic.

Redmayne truly deserved his Best Oscar win last year for this amazing and challenging role.

And finally, here’s mine:

Mel’s 10 Things About… The Theory of Everything
(2014) Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Harry Lloyd, David Thewlis, Maxine Peake, Christian McKay

everything_a

1. Absolutely superb acting, the two leads were amazing.
2. The film really captured the helplessness of a disease like this, and it hit a little too close to home for me in some parts. Even though my illness isn’t nearly as bad as Hawking’s, it’s still debilitating, and so it touched me greatly.
3. The film also captures very well the torment of loving two people at the same time. Easy, it’s not.
4. I was really hoping for more science in the film, and a little less drama. Was slightly disappointing on that end.
5. How hot is Harry Lloyd?? I mean really now! *fans self*
6. They captured Hawking’s wit wonderfully.
7. I can’t imagine being that smart, and being stuck inside your body like that. It must be absolutely horrible.
8. Hawking is such an inspiration to me. This film just cemented it even more. I mean if he can, in his state, become a world famous bestselling author, not to mention everything else he is, then I can certainly do something with my life!
9. Jane was an absolutely wonderful human being, sacrificing so much of herself to support and care for her husband. Not many people are so generous.
10. In the end, it was quite a lovely film, but I have to admit to like Hawking, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, better. Its focus was more on the science, and I enjoyed it immensely.

And that’s it! Stay tuned for next time, when we review Out of the Dark! 🙂

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Pyramid

The Pyramid
(2014) Ashley Hinshaw, James Buckley, Denis O’Hare, Christa Nicola, Amir K, Faycal Attougui

pyramid

I almost turned this film off as soon as it began because of the found footage style. I can’t stand it. I decided to go ahead and give it a try anyways, since I paid for it, and was happy to see that only part of it was in that style, the rest was normal film. So all the worst parts of found footage films, like running with the camera, static, blinking lights, etc, were thankfully missing from this film. There was only one actor I’d heard of (Denis O’Hare, from American Horror Story), and the acting ranged from bad to decent, but unfortunately nothing better than that. It’s pretty much a by-the-numbers creature feature (and I knew it was going to be, but since it was about pyramids and ancient Egyptian lore, I couldn’t help myself), but it was well enough done and even had some good, tense scenes. The big reveal at the end was pretty darn cool, but unfortunately the FX couldn’t keep up with their idea, and the monster (I won’t spoil as to who it is just in case anyone should want to see the film) looks very cheap. A shame, really. All in all, looking past the not-so-great effects and mediocre acting, this is a pretty good tomb crawler, so earns its score of 7/10.

This film isn’t currently on Netflix, but there are full copies on YouTube. Enjoy 🙂

 

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Mad Max Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road
(2015) Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Nathan Jones, Josh Helman, John Howard, Richard Carter, Iota, Angus Sampson

FURY ROAD

So I wondered if I should do a review of this film at all. I mean there’s not much to really say about it. There’s virtually no plot, and the acting ranges from ok to mediocre (but at least never downright bad). The best actor in the film, by far, is the always lovable Nicholas Hoult who, somehow, still looked adorable while under all that makeup and prosthetic (just like he did in Warm Bodies, how on earth does he do it??).

But let’s get real for a second, no one who went to see this movie did so for the plot or the acting. The action sequences were, of course, stunning. Most of them were actually done live, with only a little CGI to help, and it really showed. That’s all there was to the film though, start to finish. There are little pockets of dialogue here and there, but mostly it’s dirt road war. Unfortunately, I need more than that to keep me entertained for a whole 2 hours. I made the mistake of stopping the film about 90 minutes in to go to the bathroom and grab a snack, and I actually had trouble starting the film up again. If my husband hadn’t been watching it with me and insisted on finishing it, I’m not actually sure if I would have finished. I probably would have, since there was so little time left, but the fact that I had to think about it should tell you something about how much I enjoyed it, or didn’t, rather. I didn’t hate it, the action sequences were entertaining, but I just wish we’d of had at least some plot and character development. People died from the good guys and it was hard to care, and that’s never a good sign. I also had some trouble with Tom Hardy’s voice (or, shall I say, his grunting), and accent sliding on and off. Either let him keep his accent, or don’t. Don’t let him do both!

All in all, it’s nothing more than a mediocre film with awesome effects and stunts. 6.5/10 (the extra .5 is for Tom Hardy’s lips. Meow.)

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Interstellar

Interstellar
(2014) Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin (v.o.), Matt Damon, Topher Grace, Casey Affleck, Josh Stewart (v.o.), Mackenzie Foy, Ellen Burstyn

interstellar

Wow, that was a long movie. But that’s alright, it didn’t really feel like it’s almost 3 hours, so that’s good. I’m not sure if I really liked it, though. I mean everything was great; the acting, the visuals were breathtaking, everything was solid. The story was interesting too. I just feel like with all the grand, swooping things happening all over the film, something got lost. For some reason I couldn’t connect with the characters, especially Murphy. I’ve been staring blankly at the screen for a while, so yeah, that’s really all I got to say about it. Good, but nothing I’m ever going to think about again. 7/10 for a film that left me feeling empty and indifferent.

M.

Mel’s 10 Things About… Space Odyssey

Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets
(2004) Martin McDougall, Joanne McQuinn, Rad Lazar, Mark Dexter, Michelle Joseph, Mark Tandy, Hélène Mahieu, Lourdes Faberes, John Schwab, Colin Stinton, David Suchet (v.o.)

Space Odyssey Voyage to the Planets

1. The CGI was simply breathtaking.
2. Acting was good all round.
3. The the mix of film and faux-documentary style. Sometimes that can go horribly wrong, in this case it went very, very right.
4. The science, as far as I can tell, is really good. It lines up with other shows I’ve watched and books I’ve read on the subject. Some things are out-dated, but the film was made in 2004 after all.
5. There are some good, tense scenes here and there, and one really sad one that made me bawl like a baby the first time round.
6. This still falls into the realm of science fiction, but for how long, I wonder? I certainly hope I live long enough to see our explorations of other planets and moons.
7. Everything was mostly believable except maybe putting humans on Venus and Io. Would a titanium suit really protect us from the awesome pressures and heat from Venus?
8. I was really hoping, while hovering around Jupiter and Saturn that they’d land on, or at least mention, the moons Titan and Europa. The latter, with its under-ice ocean, is tremendously exciting. (Another very good film on the subject is Europa Report, about what might be swimming around in that deep, dark ocean.)
9. That one dude who was more interested in the science than in the safety of the astronauts really pissed me off, and I’d like to say that that would never happen in real life, but really now, who am I kidding?
10. I was kinda pissed that the “weak one” was a woman. Why not a man? Or, even better, why have a weak one at all? Having a full team of great astronauts isn’t that far a stretch.

Great little film by the BBC. I’d recommend it to anyone even slightly interested in space travel.

9.5/10

 

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Ouija

Ouija
(2014) Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith, Bianca A Santos, Shelley Hennig, Sierra Heuermann, Vivis Colombetti, Lin Shaye

ouija

So the beginning of this film is boring as hell. I was thisclose to turning it off. But I was watching it with my sister, and she was really enjoying it, so I settled in for the long haul.

First, the good. The acting was actually pretty decent from most of the players. The blonde girl was atrocious, but others held their own. While not scary, it did have one or two good, tense scenes. And the eye thing was pretty cool, it was something not seen too often, so that was good.

Now, the bad. Being, of course, everything else. {SPOILERS AHEAD} The “twist”, such as it is, is a total rip off of other, better shows, such as The Ring and an episode of Supernatural, in which we think the child is the victim, when in fact, they’re the evil one. It was also obvious from a mile away, I figured it out almost immediately. For movies like this, I’m usually able to suspend my disbelief for most things, we are talking about a film about ghosts, after all. But I have my limits. Nana just so happens to know exactly what to do to save them? Or, for that matter, believing their story at all? Just… no. And then, of course, the obligatory open ending, so they’re able to make more of these.

All in all, it didn’t completely suck, but was thoroughly unimaginative and forgettable. And so earns its score of 5/10, with an extra point going to the eye candy.

This film isn’t currently streaming on Netflix, but unless you really have a hard on for ghost stories, I’d say skip it.

M.