Michael Pena

The Martian

It is only the first day of October but break out those Oscar conversations because we have our first contender of the season! But is it as good as they are making it out to be? It just might be! I just left the theater, where I was forced to see Ridley Scott’s new film in 3D, we all know how against 3D I am, but it was only showing I could make.

The Martian stars Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sean Bean (Spoiler alert: Sean Bean does not die!), Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, and Chiwetel Ejiodor. The Drew Goddard script is directed by Ridley Scott who produces the film alongside of Simon Kinberg. The Martian is based on the bestselling novel of the same name written by Andy Weir. Premiering at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, it immediately sparked Oscar buzz not only for the film itself, but for Matt Damon’s performance.

\The Martian tells the tale of presumed dead astronaut Mark Watney (Damon) stranded alone on the hostile planet of Mars. With only a limited amount of supplies, he must find a way to survive until he can be rescued by a crew that he doesn’t even know if they know he is still alive.

Let me start off by saying, this film was freaking incredible. Every single aspect of it is beautiful. From the casting, to the story, to the direction. Not a single moment wasted. From beginning to end I was thoroughly entertained. Damn near on the edge of my seat. I laughed, I teared up, I was scared, and I cringed. Amazing.

Let’s start with Damon. Damon in his own right is a great actor. The guy can do it all. And this is his showcase. Being put in the position to carry the majority of a film, by you can be difficult, but Damon proves he was up to the task. All though the character is so well written, Damon brings him to life. He makes you connect with him; he makes you root for him, he makes you hurt for him. The optimism of the character could be done wrong if any someone else’s hands, but Damon brings the right amount of humor and intelligence and believability to the role. Leo has his work cut out for him, because Damon is in the hunt for the Oscar with this one.

The rest of the cast is filled with heavy hitters and great role players. Jeff Daniels reminds us that he is a premier actor with an incredible talent. Ejiodor in on par and holds his own. Kate Mara makes you forget she was in The Fantastic Four. Michael Pena is a riot and believable as always. From top to bottom this cast is stellar.

The story itself is really well done. It is a perfect blend of Cast Away and Apollo 13. While you are alone on Mars with Matt Damon, it switches back and forth to earth and the attempts and plans to save him. It is suspenseful, and incredibly funny. Not to mention it is so well told that I constantly had to remind myself it was not a true story. Just being real. Completely thought this was true once or twice while watching.

A definite return to form for one Ridley Scott. Who his own not been up to his own standards as of late, this one he really knocks it out of the park. The cinematography is beautiful. Every shot framed and centered perfectly with as much attention that can be paid to detail. There are times you think this was actually shot on Mars itself! Again, I know I had to remind myself that was not possible either…

As far as negatives go there honestly are not a lot. A small chunk near the beginning of the third acts takes you to the story on earth for a little longer then you would want. There is a moment between Kate Mara and Sebastian Stan’s characters that really felt a little out of place. And I guess I have to say another negative was that I saw it in 3D. While it was not bad 3D, I am just not a fan of it. I only chose the 3D format because it was the only showing available. I do not think the 3D added all that much to the film, it was just kind of there. So if you have the choice, you probably don’t need to bother with the 3D unless you just like 3D

But other than those rather nitpicky negatives, there is nothing bad I can say about this film. As of now, in my mind, it is the front runner for the Oscar. One for Damon, one for Scott, and one for the film itself. I scored it 4.8, with a .3 bonus for, well everything. That gives The Martian a Jeebus Score of 5.1. You guys deff need to check this one out. But what say you Jackass Nation? Are you excited for The Martian? What are your favorite Matt Damon performances? Sound off in the comments below, and remember, it is what it is. Keep on Nerding!

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Acting, Entertainment, and Casting, and a max of .5 for Dialog, Cinematography, and Direction. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

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Fury

So this past few weeks have been filled with some phenomenal films. I have been very excited and very pleased with the lot of them. Fury is another of the lot that was truly amazing. I have been very hyped going forward to this film. My buddy, who we will call Angry Andrew, constantly repeated to me how bad the film looked. “OMG, another Brad Pitt war movie! This looks terrible!” I know right? Horrible accusation. He doesn’t know much about film. That said, it could have been overhype, he could have been right. SO I made sure Angry Andrew came to see the David Ayer directed film with me, partially so I could rub it in his face about how incredible the film was going to be.

The David Ayer written and directed film has an all-star cast. Maybe not the A Listers we have all come to know, but the surrounding Brad Pitt is certainly A List talent. Shia LaBoots (LaBeouf), Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, and Jason Isaacs, all top talents in their own rights. The cast is truly what makes the film. They are all incredible in their rolls. Each bringing different personality traits to their distinct characters.

The story follows a group of soldiers that control a tank during World War II that have named FURY. War Daddy (Pitt) leads his crew as they are joined by a replacement assistant driver Norman Ellison (Lerman) who is only 8 months into his Army career. Ellison who was trained as a typist is not prepared for war, and reluctant to his new position, while his new crew are close as family, and have been thru hell and back. As the German soldiers press forward, the Fury team is pressed to do their job and stop the enemy at all cost, even when they become the final defense, against over powering number of Nazi Soldiers.

Fury is an intense film. You feel nearly every moment of action. The situations these characters find themselves in drag you in. There was one scene I felt was dragging, and didn’t necessarily need to be in the film. As it carried out I felt they could of taken this back to the editing board. That is until the entire scene played out, only then did I realize how pivotal every second of this film is. It sets up everything perfectly, and the film plays out exceptionally. I can see the script getting the Oscar nod.

Watching the trailer I was a little worried about the effects. It almost looks liked Star Trek or Star Wars phasser guns firing. But then watching this movie it made a little more sense, and looked pretty awesome. I had a few problems with the ending of the film. I felt it could have been written a little better. But it wasn’t big enough for me to really hurt my overall opinion of the film. So as you may have guessed, I’m going pretty high with my Jeebus score, 5.4. And what did Angry Andrew have to say as we left the theater? Well I’ll quote his Facebook, “I’ll eat my words, freakin great movie”