The Martian is science-fiction in the most literal sense of the term. It’s essentially a big-budget ode to the scientific method, in which an enterprising astronaut marooned on Mars after a deadly sandstorm puts every ounce of his collegiate powers towards surviving and eventually returning home. Directed by Ridley Scott and written by Drew Goddard, the movie version of the popular Andy Weir novel meets the old-fashioned morality and classical simplicity of that story with awe-inspiring visualizations of a planet we may still one day get to know.
Rather than dwelling on the wonders of space, The Martian skips straight past the sense of discovery and plunges in as the characters treat the most foreign environments as a mundane workplace. In the opening scene, the five astronauts of the Hermes mission are deep into a harvesting session when they get word of an oncoming storm. They make their way towards shelter, but not soon enough. Four of them return to safety in time, but one, botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon), disappears, presumably asphyxiated to death.
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This week on The M&M Report, Devin and I had lots to say about the remarkable new movie 12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. We discussed the movie’s approach to historically tricky subject matter, the searing performances and McQueen’s impressive command of visual storytelling. We both think this movie is more than worth seeing – it just might be essential.
(Note: we discussed the movie in general terms before getting into spoilers. If you’re on the fence about seeing this movie, listen to the first few minutes for our verdict.)
At the end, we simply couldn’t resist making room for a new feature: Devin Doesn’t Like Things. This week, Devin explains his true feelings about Halloween. Beware: he’s not a fan.
We’ve got lots of exciting things on the way in the next few weeks, including a return to music and a parade of guest stars certain to keep things interesting. We hope you’ll stick around!
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Based on its pedigree and early reviews from the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals, I’m eagerly anticipating 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen’s much-anticipated new film about a free black man (Chiweter Ejiofor) who endures horrendous treatment at the hands of a ruthless slave master (Michael Fassbender). In an article entitled “Your Best Picture Winner Will Be 12 Years a Slave“, Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan writes, “A century from now, when they put together a montage about the history of movies? They’ll put the film we just saw in the first ten seconds of that montage.” If this movie really is the Schindler’s List of slavery, as others have suggested, all the better.