Mel’s 5 Second Review: 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


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.


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.




Mel’s 5 Second Audiobook Review: The Martian

The Martian
Written by: Andy Weir
Read by: RC Bray


“If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m fucked.”

(Questions from Audible’s reviews form)

Would you listen to The Martian again? Why?
I probably wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s very, very rare that I’ll ever re-read a book. It’s happened only a small handful of times in my adult life. I have so much in my to-read list that I don’t spend time re-reading books, no matter how awesome they were (and this one was awesome).

Who was your favorite character and why?
Definitely the main character, Mark Watney. Along with the obvious heroic stuff, he’s got a killer sense of humour that just brings the character to a whole other level. Venket Kapour, a NASA administrator, is also a wonderful character.

What about RC Bray’s performance did you like?
Everything! He’s an awesome reader! Every character has his own unique voice and accent, even the women, without sounding silly. His voice is pretty much perfect. He was born to read audiobooks.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I laughed out loud a good few times. I never cried, but I did get really tense a few times. Near the end, I actually had trouble sitting still while listening!

Any additional comments?
This is a practically perfect sci-fi story. And it’s not so out there that I couldn’t picture something like this actually happening. It’s futuristic, but not very far into the future. 50, 100 years, tops. The writing was simple, but very good, and all the characters were engaging. I’d recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in sci-fi. It gets a perfect score from me, 10/10.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: Death by Black Hole, and Other Cosmic Quandaries Audiobook

Death by Black Hole, and Other Cosmic Quandaries
Written by: Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Read by: Dion Graham


This was an absolutely wonderful listen. I’m not sure why they didn’t get Dr Tyson to do the reading himself, he’s got a great voice. But Dion Graham actually sounds a lot like him, so at least there’s that. He was perfectly able to capture Dr Tyson’s personality and wit, which is one of the reasons I love his work so much. Some science writers are so dry that no matter how interesting the subject is, it’s almost impossible to get through it. He has all the facts, but he writes it with humour, and it’s wonderful. I’d have given it a 10/10, but there was the “obligatory” chapter on god, which I skipped, so it gets 9.5/10 instead. I’m honestly so tired of seeing religion in science stuff, it has no place there.


Mel’s 5 Second Review: Gravity

(2013) Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, and Ed Harris


Quite a good little film. Visually stunning and well acted. Based on the trailers, I wasn’t all that interested, I thought it looked pretty but boring. But then, after reading a few reviews, I changed my mind. And boy am I glad I did, it was quite the fun ride. Even the 3D was nice, and I generally dislike 3D. It’s a big task to ask an actor to act by him(her)self for more than half the film, but Sandra gave the performance of a lifetime. She’s never been more on top of her game than she is in this film. All in all, a good movie watching experience. A solid 8.5/10.

This movie isn’t on Netflix yet, but I imagine it’ll make it’s way there eventually. Till then you should really track it down and watch. Preferably on a huge screen! 😀



Mel’s 5 Second Review: Europa Report

Europa Report
(2013) Christian Camargo, Anamaria Marinca, Embeth Davitz, Karolina Wydra, Michael Nyqvist and Daniel Wu


Quite good, much much better than I had been expecting, though I wasn’t expecting much. A few names I (barely) recognized helped me agree to watch it. It was well acted, tense and claustrophobic, with simple yet effective effects. Hopefully this is what we’ll find when we do finally make it to Europa. Just, you know, without all the death. I’m soooo excited about Europa, I hope I get to see it happen in my lifetime! But that’s a whole other discussion. Just go see the movie, hehe. It’s a solid 8/10.

The film is currently streaming on Netflix. Enjoy the ride!