Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Finally saw this. Odd, often unlikeable characters (ie: teenagers) in teen-romantic-comic-book-fantasy story presented with outstanding originality and the typical Edgar Wright pizazz. I'm probably about 10 years too old to really appreciate some of the references (and droll teenspeak) fully, but I definitely LOLed multiple times at some of the verbal humour and sight gags. Evans, Culkin and Schwartzman stand out in an amazing cast. While the resolution left me a little disgruntled, this is a helluva ride, never dull, and perfectly paced; an assault of high energy awesomeness peppered with nice, quieter moments. And visually it is absolutely stunning - completely off the scale.
Not much of a rollicking adventure or discovery story, but instead a slight, sedate morality tale about community, a bit like "Local Hero" but with plesiosaurs. Well cast and performed, with some lovely domestic moments, but very disposable, with some questionable resolutions. But the absolutely stunning location scenery (and Richardson) make this well worth a look.
Really great. Not quite in Alien or Thelma and Louise league for me, but definitely one of Sir Riddles' finest.
A big reason for this is the unexpected humour. I haven't read Andy Weir's book, so maybe the humour came from there. Riddles sure ain't know for it himself. And, granted, he sneaks yet ANOTHER gross-out "extract-a-foreign-object-from-your-body-in-sci-fi-scene" sequence into The Martian. But this isn't the typical grim, bleak, intense Riddles. The Martian is FILLED with wry, funny dialogue, observations, moments - and with a very optimistic vibe. Yes, the film is impeccably produced, perfectly cast (and WHAT a cast!!!), flawlessly performed (not a rotten apple here at all, but some standouts like Daniels) and just fantastically put together. Damon (the most affable megastar at the moment?) nails the lead role - essaying a tenacious, intelligent, funny, smart (smart ass) of a character with his usual relatable charm. I thought this film could've used a touch more resonance by showing exactly WHAT Mark Whatney was desperate to get home to (Family? Friends?) - he was a bit of a blank slate there. But the only REAL negative of "The Martian" is the slight overlength/pacing - the film drags a bit at the end of the second act/start of the third act, and it maybe validated a smidge more padding in the rear end (although arguably the shots under the main closing credits compensate for this).
Overall it's an extremely polished Hollywood product. In the league of recent space flicks, The Martian is perhaps not as heart-pounding suspenseful or kinetic or well-paced as Gravity. But it's certainly warmer and more accessible (if less philosophically ambitious) than Interstellar. A really great film. But what makes The Martian special is not just the light, humorous vein running through a very serious narrative - but the fact that that this is a story about fighting tooth and nail against the odds in a situation where NO violence is required. No superhero smackdowns, no die hard cop shoot-outs, no last minute knockouts. Yes, the film has few bursts of thrilling physical "action" - but it's not based (like most Hollywood blockbusters) on characters fighting each other. The film's optimistic (yet someone realistic) heart is derived from the suspense of simple survival, and rescue. The film reminded me of "Castaway" in many ways, although Damon doesn't have a volleyball like his Private Ryan saviour - instead he's got a laptop diary. Yet the vibe is not dissimilar. Instead of fish and coconuts we've got recycled shit and potato plants. Instead of "man make fire", we've got "man make water". Instead of building rafts, we've got building camera-systems. But unlike "Castaway", "The Martian" balances the stranded-man scenes with "get him home" rescue-plan scenes. All with fantastic ensemble work. All with decent to great suspense, and all with the sense that SAVING a person (even just ONE person) is a human quality that should always be valued. And these scenes - and Damon's - are all about scientific ingenuity. Using knowledge for survival instead of violence. Never giving up hope. Playing disco music. And always dropping one-liners along the way.
The Martian is a great metaphor, and a great example, in so many ways. You should get your ass to Mars. And see it.