Oct 052015

The Martian (20th Century Fox, Genre Films, 2015)
Rating: 8.5/10

Matt Damon as MARK WATNEY in THE MARTIAN, 20th Century Fox, Genre Films, 2015

After Gravity and Interstellar, I expected the new sci-fi film by Ridley Scott to be another tear-jerking space drama about the endurance of the human spirit. And while the two main themes of the film are indeed survival and the essence of humanity, The Martian is a surprisingly light-hearted and uplifting story about a contemporary Robinson Crusoe.

Based on the book by Andy Weir, the film follows astronaut Mark Watney, a botanist sent on a mission to explore Mars. After a devastating storm, Mark is presumed dead and left behind by his crew members. But despite being injured, he survives the storm and finds himself alone on the planet. With limited supplies and no way to go back to Earth, he needs to keep himself alive until the next mission lands on Mars. Back on Earth, NASA’s best scientists have to race against time to bring Mark home. But when Mark’s crew members find out he is still alive, they come up with a daring plan to rescue their friend.


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Sep 272015


The success of the masterful The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001 – 2003) left Tolkien fans eager to return to Middle Earth, so the film adaptation of the prequel to the story was for many a dream come true. The film goers’ interest in the production was further fuelled by the fact that it was the first feature film to be shot in 48 fps and shown in cinemas. However, when the film reached the silver screen, the unusual format was the main (though not the only) reason for the audiences’ disappointment.

The abbreviation “fps” stands for “frames per second” and it indicates the frequency with which unique consecutive images (i.e. frames) are produced in visual media. 48 fps is an example of a high frame rate. HFR is not a new or unique technology in itself, as it is the common format for computer games and television productions. It is, however, a novelty in the field of feature films, which are traditionally shot in 24 frames per second.

The majority of film critics and casual viewers criticised the use of high-frame-rate in The Hobbit, though there were also those who defended the use of the technology. The defenders claimed that audiences were unable to appreciate … Read the rest

Sep 162015

Trainwreck (Apatow Productions, Universal Pictures, 2015)

The trailer for Amy Schumer’s debut comedy promises a refreshing and satirical take on romantic comedies, but the promise is not fulfilled. The film wants you to believe that the protagonist, Amy (played by Schumer herself), isn’t your typical rom-com heroine. Sure, she is an attractive white girl in her early 30s with a successful career and a wild sexual appetite, but – get this – she doesn’t believe in romance. You didn’t see that twist coming, did you?



Amy’s commitment issues are crudely explained in the opening scene, as her father (Colin Quinn) tells her that he’s divorcing her mom because “monogamy isn’t realistic”. Years later, while her younger sister Kim (Brie Larson) enjoys domestic bliss with her husband and kids, Amy spends her free time partying, having mediocre sex with strangers and doing the walk of shame the next morning. But it all changes when she is given a new work assignment. Even though she despises sports, Amy has to write an article about Aaron (Bill Hader), a young and successful doctor who treats athletes and is best-buddies with LeBron James. Despite her cynical approach to love (and sports), Amy can’t … Read the rest

Sep 092015

Inside Out (Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures, 2015)

Since their game-changing debut in 1995, Toy Story, Pixar has been charming children and adults alike with their unique stories and visually pleasing animation. Unlike Disney, which of late relies mostly on slightly modernised interpretations of well-know fairy tales (with Tangled and Frozen as primary examples), Pixar manages to create new characters, whose adventures take place in original and inventive environments. Such is the case with their newest feature film, Inside Out.



The story follows Riley, a fun-loving, hockey-playing girl from Minnesota, and her parents, as they move from their nice suburban house to a busy and surprisingly gloomy San Francisco. Inside Riley’s head, her Emotions (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust), observe the new environment and Riley’s reactions to it. As Riley grows more and more resentful of her new home, Joy tries her best to keep the girl happy. But when an accident sends Joy and Sadness away from the Control Room, leaving the other Emotions in charge of Riley’s mood, the girl becomes more and more depressed. While Anger, Fear and Disgust struggle to help Riley, Joy and Sadness desperately try to find their way back to make … Read the rest