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Director Ridley Scott makes the most of an excellent script and a first-rate star for a scintillating sci-fi trip to the red planet
Proving conclusively that it really is all about the writing, Ridley Scott’s most enjoyable film in years reassures us that the creakiness of Prometheus, the cack-handed contrivance of The Counsellor and the sheer stodginess of Exodus: Gods and Kings were genetically rooted in their respective screenplays. Scott may not have the best eye for a decent script (he thought A Good Year read like a charming Russell Crowe vehicle), but when the right words are on the page he can visualise them like no other. From the creative back and forth of Hampton Fancher and David Peoples on Blade Runner, through the genius of Callie Khouri’s Thelma and Louise screenplay, to this terrifically crowd-pleasing adaptation of Andy Weir’s book by The Cabin in the Woods creator Drew Goddard, »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
20th Century Fox
Sir Ridley Scott finally makes a welcome return-to-form with The Martian; the brilliant, expansive and immersive sci-fi blockbuster aided by a remarkable ensemble cast. After underwhelming consistently with his recent outputs (Exodus: Gods And Kings, The Counselor, Prometheus), the Matt Damon vehicle sees the legendary auteur’s most robust and coherent release since Gladiator.
Hollywood has now mastered the art of space imagery and is truly able to transport their audiences to planets and galaxies far, far away, but despite exceptional visuals and dramatic advances in filmmaking technologies, the principals of great cinema will forever rely upon storytelling and realised characters.
Last year, fanboys across the globe were left stunned and speechless by Christopher Nolan’s operatic and sprawling Interstellar, and clearly enraptured in a haze of Hans Zimmer-Hoyte van Hoytema wonder, forgot that it’s actually an incredibly mediocre movie.
The Martian on the other hand, »
- Chris Haydon
- Phil Pirrello
Stranger in a Bland Land: Scott’s Toilsome Return to Space
Ridley Scott, who is on the same annual cinematic trajectory as Woody Allen when it comes to churning out films, returns again to sci-fi with The Martian, an adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel. Fans of the source material will already know the title is somewhat of a misnomer, as this is one epic from Scott that doesn’t include an extra-terrestrial presence. Thematically, this is family friendly stuff, of the Ron Howard Apollo 13 ilk, and the film’s visual power, featuring the work of Scott’s returning DoP Dariusz Wolski, makes this 3D space epic seem superbly outfitted. But, as many have often criticized Scott as regards his recent output, it also lacks key components that made his earlier classics timeless—dramatic tension, spectacular thrills, and memorable characters. Instead, this rather feels like a sharply dressed rescue mission procedural, »
- Nicholas Bell
Ridley Scott blasts audiences into the far reaches of space, while Robert Zemeckis propels moviegoers high above the streets of New York in a box office face off between two of cinema’s leading auteurs.
The main event is likely to be Scott’s “The Martian,” a 3D action-adventure that finds Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on the red planet. It’s a harsh, unforgiving terrain that may seem like a welcome refuge for an actor who is currently being lambasted in the media for suggesting gay actors shouldn’t discuss their sexuality.
Despite Damon’s gaffe-plagued promotional tour, his star power and strong reviews should lift “The Martian” above the fray. Critics are calling the film a funny, thrilling ride, and a return to form for Scott after “The Counselor” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings” fell flat. It should pull in $45 million when it debuts in 3,826 locations. Twentieth Century Fox, »
- Brent Lang
The Big Short, the star-studded drama about the mid-2000’s housing bubble collapse from director Adam McKay, is the latest adaptation of author Michael Lewis’ works. The film, which will premiere on closing night of the 2015 AFI Fest in Los Angeles, follows recent Lewis adaptations The Blind Side (2008) and Moneyball (2011), both of which received best picture nominations.
Lewis is hardly the only author to have his works adapted for the big screen in recent years, but the recognition of his films by the Academy are noteworthy.
While young adult authors Suzanne Collins and James Dashner have had major commercial success recently with The Hunger Games and Maze Runner franchises, respectively, there have not received notice come Oscar season.
On the other hand, recent best picture nominees that have been adapted from written works are generally isolated incidents for the authors. Annie Proulx had her short »
- Patrick Shanley
'The Martian' movie: Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars. 'The Martian' movie review: Ridley Scott still has 'greatness left in him' The Martian is the story of a man in trouble and in desperate need of saving. Brilliant and resourceful, he must marshal all of his creative powers to solve a series of difficult problems or all is lost. That man is Ridley Scott. The Oscar-nominated British director has been mired in a late-career slump after a run of middling films that only served to dent his legacy, namely The Counselor, Prometheus, and Exodus: Gods and Kings. Scott, at the Omg age of 77, can still put together a movie, but fans have been wondering if he had any greatness left in him. The Martian answers that question with a pleasantly enthusiastic yes. That enthusiasm comes tempered as we wonder if Scott would have approached The Martian in the »
- Mark Keizer
When we met Ridley Scott in a plush London hotel one September afternoon, the director was relaxed and jovial. And well he should be; his latest film, The Martian, has already garnering glowing notices, and for our money, it's Scott's best film in years. The story of astronaut Mark Watney and his struggles to survive alone and hungry on the hostile surface of Mars, it's full of humour, drama and eye-popping visuals.
As the film opens in the UK, we were lucky enough to talk to Scott about all kinds of movies from his voluminous body of work, including Alien, Blade Runner, Legend, The Counsellor and lots more, all leading up to his plans for the three Prometheus movies he wants to make, and finally, »
Arriving in limited release this weekend before expanding wide in early October, Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario is a strong start to the fall season. The drama surrounding the drug battle at the U.S.-Mexico border might not get any points for subtlety, but Villeneuve amplifies the tension of every scene with help from cinematographer Roger Deakins outdoing himself with every shot.
If it’s not coming to your city this weekend, or if you’re simply in the mood for some similarly themed films, we’ve rounded up eight titles that are well worth watching before seeing Sicario. Rather than including past work from Villeneuve (Prisoners and Enemy make for worthy primers) or proof that Emily Blunt makes an excellent heroine (see: Edge of Tomorrow and Looper), the selections aim to cover a thematic crossroads. Check them out below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
- Jordan Raup
At this stage, Ridley Scott's Prometheus 2 most definitely stands as a mystery, with not much known about exactly how the movie will pick up the story where its predecessor left things. Next to nothing is known about the plot, but at the very least we now do know that we will get to see the return of Michael Fassbender's android character, David. This past weekend, Scott was up at the Toronto International Film Festival celebrating the big world premiere of his latest film, The Martian, and it was while speaking with Deadline that he revealed his intentions to reteam with Michael Fassbender. Answering a question about the end of the first Prometheus and working with Fassbender again, the director first talked at length about his positive experience collaborating with the actor on his film The Counselor, but then added, discussing his next sci-fi movie, Fassbender will do »
Ridley Scott is unquestionably one of the biggest directors in Hollywood, but even his most ardent fans have to admit that Scott’s recent track record has been all over the place. Exodus: Gods and Kings was an overblown CG mess, The Counselor was an audience-stumping bomb, and Prometheus looked so tantalizing yet delivered so little. As I settled in for the screening of Scott’s latest film, The Martian, at the Toronto Film Festival this morning, I thought about Prometheus in particular and how my dashed expectations for that film had cautioned me against getting my hopes up today. Ridley Scott’s movies always make for great trailers, but can they still make for good ... movies?Happily, I can report that he’s still got it. The Martian isn’t liable to become an iconic sci-fi film in the vein of Scott’s early classics Alien and Blade Runner, »
- Kyle Buchanan
Ridley Scott is busier than ever, and there has been some speculation as to whether or not he would revisit the world of Blade Runner or Alien first. As suspected, the prolific filmmaker has confirmed that Prometheus 2, a sequel to his 2012 Alien prequel Prometheus, will be his next movie as a director. He has The Martian coming out this October, but as soon as it was wrapped, he didn't hesitate to jump into preproduction on this upcoming sci-fi thriller.
Prometheus originated as a prologue to the action seen in Ridley Scott's 1979 horror classic Alien. But the movie morphed into something much greater than a mere prequel, becoming its own thing and igniting a new franchise for 20th Century Fox. It took some pretty complicated ideas head-on and in turn tore audiences in two. Some longtime fans loved it, others hated it, but there is no denying it is interesting. »
Come October, Ridley Scott will serve up a much more realistic sci-fi piece than we are perhaps used to from the esteemed filmmaker with The Martian, his anticipated adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel that stars Matt Damon as the wayward astronaut. But now that his work on the Oscar hopeful is ostensibly complete, Scott is eager to begin work on Prometheus 2.
20th Century Fox’s pseudo-prequel may have divided the vocal Alien fanbase back in 2012, but with a $400 million box office haul to its name, the studio will surely be interested in continuing the budding new franchise – all we need now is a formal announcement. Unperturbed, Scott is aiming to set the production in motion in early 2016, and in a recent interview with Empire, the director confirmed that the sequel will indeed act as his next film.
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Speaking along with his leading man Damon whilst promoting The Martian, »
- Michael Briers
Director Guy Ritchie wanted to avoid any '60s cliches in his Cold War rendering of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (starring Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin), and composer Daniel Pemberton was happy to oblige. In fact, there are as many musical twists and turns as you'll find in the plot to save the world from nuclear war. Pemberton called it a "kaleidoscope of international color" because of its dense, unpredictable blend of styles. "The '60s thing is fun from a musical point-of-view because music was such a strong aspect in culture and in films, so you had a lot more license to be very bold, which as a composer, is very enjoyable," said Pemberton ("The Counselor," "The Awakening"). "In some ways, it's my favorite kind of music from film scores back then. They were a lot more striking and unusual. This is a nostalgic, »
- Bill Desowitz
It.s .The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. versus .Straight Outta Compton. at the box-office this weekend. .U.N.C.L.E. is based on the popular 1960s TV series. This one stars Henry Cavill as an American spy and Armie Hammer as his Russian counterpart. It.s directed by Guy Ritchie. .Straight Outta Compton. is the big-screen docu-drama of the rise and fall of N.W.A. Which one is my pick of the week? Take a look!
Official .The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. Synopsis
Henry Cavill ("Man of Steel") stars as Napoleon Solo opposite Armie Hammer ("The Social Network") as Illya Kuryakin in director Guy Ritchie's "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," a fresh take on the hugely popular 1960s television series. Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." centers on CIA agent Solo and Kgb agent Kuryakin. »
Working across a wide range of musical mediums, Ivor Novello Award-winning and BAFTA-nominated composer Daniel Pemberton has embraced everything from large scale orchestral and choral works to innovative electronic sound design, live salsa bands to post-rock guitar line-ups.
From The Counselor, The Awakening and the upcoming Steve Jobs film, to name a few, Pemberton has delivered another eclectic score – this time Guy Ritchie’s latest movie The Man From U.N.C.L.E., in theatres Friday, August 14.
Fans of the TV show are familiar with the theme music from composer Jerry Goldsmith, with additional music for the various seasons provided by Morton Stevens, Walter Scharf, Lalo Schifrin, Gerald Fried, Robert Drasnin and Nelson Riddle.
Now comes the film version and a 5-star, international score that exudes the 1960’s as if it was pulled from a time vault. You’re right into the film from the first musical note and drum beat.
Recently the »
- Michelle McCue
There isn’t an authentic human motivation or emotion to be found here. The bar has been raised too high on comic-book movies for us to accept junk like this. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
I knew from the opening moments of this 187,874th reboot of Fantastic Four that it would be getting everything wrong in most shiftless ways. Because that’s when it suggests that Oyster Bay, on Long Island, is across the East River from Manhattan and has a lovely view of the Empire State Building. Which it isn’t, and which it doesn’t. That may seem like a really nitpicky sort of nitpick, but this is only the first example of the appalling laziness of this all-origin, no-story superhero origin story. Director Josh Trank (Chronicle), who cowrote the script with »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Ridley Scott may go back to the drug trade at some point in the future. The director explored some ugly inevitabilities of the drug trade in The Counselor, and now he is signed to make a film based on Don Winslow‘s recent novel The Cartel. The novel, which follows ten years’ worth of the diverging paths […]
- Russ Fischer
I can't help but wonder if "The Martian" is fighting uphill from the start. After all, we just watched Matt Damon in a hyped space prestige drama last year. Could the familiarity ding it a bit? Maybe. The bigger question for me is what Ridley Scott has left up his sleeve. "Prometheus" may have had its fans, but I was certainly not one of them. "Exodus: Gods and Men" had no friends in sight. "The Counselor" even less. "Robin Hood" felt misguided and stale. "Body of Lies" seemed to be trying for something fresh but ended up as rote as they come. It's been a long time since "American Gangster." What has kept me more or less on board through all of this is Scott's attention to detail and craft. He is a brilliant filmmaker, regardless of how below the bar this stuff has been lately. "Prometheus," for as much »
- Kristopher Tapley
In 1991, Kathryn Bigelow directed the adrenaline-charged action crime movie “Point Break,” about an FBI agent who goes undercover to catch a gang of bank robbers who may be surfers, starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. It’s become an action crime classic over the last two decades, and sure, it’s an enjoyable film, but do we actually need a remake? Hollywood sure seems to think so. Warner Bros. is releasing “Point Break” later this year, but this main trio is decidedly less sexy than Bigelow, Reeves and Swayze. Then again, everyone’s gotta start somewhere. This new version of “Point Break” focuses on some up-and-comers: Luke Bracey staring in the Keanu Reeves role, and Edgar Ramirez in the Patrick Swayze role. Now, Ramirez is known and celebrated in many circles — he was amazing in Oliver Assayas’ three part “Carlos,” and has done strong supporting work in "Zero Dark Thirty, »
- Edward Davis
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