Just as people began to write off veteran director Ridley Scott after a series of merely OK movies, the 77-year-old casually releases his most entertaining film in years. This sci-fi adventure is lithe, humorous, thrilling and genuinely moving. In other words, it's one of Scott's best films, mixing eye-catching visuals with a story that resonates with both emotion and deeper meaning. And it's also a lot of fun.
In the very near future, the first manned mission to Mars is caught off guard by a sudden storm. With their ship in danger, Commander Lewis (Jessica Chastain) orders the crew to evacuate, but in the chaos botanist Watney (Matt Damon) is knocked away and presumed dead. As Lewis and her team (Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan and Aksel Hennie) begin the long trek back to Earth, Watney wakes up alone on Mars and understands that he will need to survive until the next mission arrives in four years' time. But his habitat is only designed to last for 30 days, so he has a lot of work to do. Eventually, he thinks of a way to get a message back home to Nasa, letting them know he's alive. Now the experts (including Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean and Kristen Wiig) must figure out a way to rescue him before he runs out of food and water.
The story plays out on three fronts: with Watney using his expertise to survive, Lewis and her crew on their long journey back home, and the Nasa officials mounting a rescue mission. All three plot-strands are riveting, using convincing science to explore the conundrum while cranking up the emotional urgency of the situation. Intriguingly, the script never gives Watney a family back on Earth to sentimentalise things; the film simply doesn't need that. And Damon more than holds the audience's sympathy. He's funny, smart, tenacious and thoroughly identifiable, the kind of person we wish we would be in the same situation.
Continue reading: The Martian Review
In these faux featurettes, the crew of Ares 3 talk us through some of the procedures and practices they must go through before embarking on their perilous mission to Mars. The small team of astronauts are put through rigorous training and exercise programs to make sure they're both mentally and physically fit for the mission.
The team also talk about how they will actually get to Mars and show you around their ship.
Matt Damon leads the cast in The Martian, he plays astronaut Mark Watney who specialises in botany and mechanical engineering. The story follows his struggle to survive as he becomes deserted on Mars after a near fatal accident.
Continue: The Martian - Clips
Mark Watney is an astronaut whose resourceful and determined personality is the only thing he has to rely on when he is accidentally abandoned on Mars when his team abort their mission in the face of an oncoming storm. He is presumed dead, but he has miraculously survived, though injured, and now must do everything within his power to get a message to NASA, calculating that if they get it, he still has to survive for four years until they reach him. He has little left in the way of supplies and is living in a Hab which is meant for only a month's worth of use. On his to do list is to attempt to grow crops to survive on, and do everything he can to make water. Luckily for him, a message does reach NASA and his crewmates immediately come together to work out how to rescue their man.
Continue: The Martian - International Trailer
Commander Raiden (Clive Owen) of the seventh rank is a skilled and gifted soldier, who rose from bloody battle during the Great Wars with an unwavering loyalty for his ageing but resolutely brave master Bartok (Morgan Freeman), despite the latter having been dishonoured and shamed by the corrupt ruler for publicly standing up for the rights of his enslaved people. After his brutal execution, all those firmly loyal to Bartok - led by Raiden - seek to avenge him in the only way they know how, with Bartok's warning of their ruler's merciless intentions strongly in mind. Raiden will lead them into the ultimate battle, in spite of their small numbers, having made far too many sacrifices in their lifetime. As his rebellion unfolds, he begins to understand that, despite what the rule claims, no honourable man can ever be 'dishonoured'; it is something inborn, and something worth fighting for.
Continue: Last Knights Trailer
Far more entertaining than it has any right to be, this is a big, messy blockbuster retelling of the Greek myth that thankfully has a sharp sense of humour and some surprising twists up its sleeve. The cast is also packed with veteran performers who know how to make the most of some eyebrow-raising innuendo, generating intrigue while keeping the audience laughing with them rather than at them.
The premise takes a revisionist approach, grounding the legend of the demigod Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) in real stories that have been exaggerated by his nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie), who travels with him as a kind of toga-era marketing expert. Their team of mercenaries includes wryly fatalistic seer Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), quick-witted blade-thrower Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), bow-wielding amazon Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) and loyal mute warrior Tydeus (Aksel Hennie). When they're offered a fortune by Lord Cotys (John Hurt) to quell a rebellion, they find themselves in the middle of a massive battle that doesn't go the way they expected. And as events take unforeseen turns, Hercules and his gang have to dig deep to turn the tide in their favour.
Johnson is a natural in the role, so massively pumped up that he looks like he could be popped with a pin. His hulking physique and just enough back-story give the character's reputation some weight, both literally and figuratively, so even if he's not half-god his achievements are still pretty impressive. (There are also plenty of hints that he may turn out to be a god after all.) And the surrounding characters add to this with cleverly written roles that are expertly played by British scene-stealers Hurt, McShane, Sewell, Mullan and Fiennes. McShane is so good that he essentially walks off with the whole movie. But relative newcomers Ritchie, Hennie and Berdal more than hold their own.
Continue reading: Hercules Review
A palpable sense of menace infuses this slow-burning Norwegian thriller, which is based on shocking, unsettling real-life events. Anchored by a terrific central performance from Aksel Hennie (Headhunters), the film sometimes strains to force the true story into a standard conspiracy movie structure. But it still has a bracing sense of urgency.
Hennie stars as Petter, Norway's top deep-sea diver, who in the early 1980s is recruited by the state-owned oil company to work with the Americans to lay a pipeline on the ocean floor connecting the mainland with off-shore drilling platforms. But this is uncharted territory for divers who will be working up to 400 metres below the surface. And when a test dive takes a fatal turn, Petter isn't convinced it was an accident. He certainly doesn't trust American diver Mike (Wes Bentley), but then everyone else is just as shifty.
Intriguingly, filmmaker Skjoldbjaerg shoots this in a gritty 1980s style tinged with the increasingly frazzled Petter's tenuous grip on reality. Diving this deep does something to the brain, so perhaps this is all in his mind. But Hennie is so likeable that we struggle with him to work out the truth, which means travelling through a Hitchcockian thriller in which everyone seems to be trying to kill him. This is fiercely clever filmmaking that's only let down because it's too clever for its own good.
Continue reading: Pioneer Review
Hercules is a bitter and haunted demi-god filled with resentment for the people and the gods (including his father Zeus) who put him through the Twelve Labours; a series of arduous tasks that saw him dance with death on a number of occasions. Now, alone and with no family of any kind to turn to, his only comfort in the world is fighting to the death in battle, alongside a group of other like-minded warriors who similarly have nothing left to live for. However, they face a challenge of a more ominous kind when the King of Thrace enlists them to train up as the most formidable army ever created in a bid to overthrow a powerful general. This is a fight of a different kind for Hercules; he may have more strength than the average man, but just how far will that take him?
Dwayne Johnson stars as Hercules in the latest adaptation of the Greco-Roman myth. Based on the graphic novel 'Hercules: The Thracian Wars' by Steve Moore, the movie has been directed by Brett Ratner ('Rush Hour', 'X-Men: The Last Stand', 'Red Dragon') and written by Ryan Condal ('The Sixth Gun') and Evan Spiliotopoulos ('The Nutty Professor', 'Battle for Terra'). 'Hercules' is scheduled for UK cinematic release on August 8th 2014.
Petter is a passionate offshore diver who harbours dreams about reaching the depths of the North Sea. When he and his brother Knut are selected to journey 500 metres below the ocean's surface to install a pipeline after a massive amount of oil deposits are located, it should be the job he has been fighting for all his life, but now it's the job that has him fighting for his life. The Norwegian diving team are being aided by American divers in the project which could be worth a billion pound contract. When Petter and Knut are sent out on the first shifts to begin work, a sudden disaster causes Petter to collapse and Knut to die. The American team try and convince Petter that he has been suffering from blackouts and thus caused the underwater explosion that killed Knut, but Petter becomes certain that an overseas conspiracy is taking place - and putting his life at risk.
'Pioneer' is a gripping thriller based on true events that took place during the 1980s Norwegian Oil Boom. It features an international group of actors and has been directed and written by Erik Skjoldbjærg ('Nokas', 'An Enemy of the People', 'Insomnia'). It is set to be released on April 11th 2014.
John McClane, a trigger happy New York cop, returns in the fifth movie of the 'Die Hard' franchise. This time, the terrorists he must face are based in Moscow, Russia. He flies there after discovering that his son Jack, with whom he has been estranged for some time, has got into some trouble with the Russian law enforcement and has been arrested. It doesn't take long for it to unravel that Jack has somehow got involved with a terrorist plot that McClane must pull him out of.
'A Good Day To Die Hard' will become the gritty action film series' fifth instalment following 2007's 'Live Free or Die Hard', 1995's 'Die Hard with a Vengeance', 1990's 'Die Hard 2' and the original 'Die Hard' in 1988 that was based on the 1979 novel 'Nothing Lasts Forever' by Roderick Thorp. The previous movies have had three different directors and four different writers and this time we see director John Moore take on the role with a resume that includes 'Max Payne', 'The Omen' and 'Behind Enemy Lines'. 'Die Hard' number five has been written by Skip Woods ('Hitman', 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine', 'Swordfish') and will be released in UK cinemas on Valentine's Day next year (February 14th 2013).
Roger (Hennie) is a fast-talking Oslo recruitment agent who's secretly self-conscious about his diminutive height. Terrified that his leggy, blonde wife Diana (Lund) will leave him, he moonlights as an art thief so he can afford to buy her expensive gifts. Then she introduces him to the suave, tall Clas (Coster-Waldau), who is both looking for a high-powered job and owns a lost Rubens painting. But before he knows what's happened, Roger is running for his life from a relentless high-tech assassin. And the cops think he's a killer.
Continue reading: Headhunters Review
Just as people began to write off veteran director Ridley Scott after a series of...
In these faux featurettes, the crew of Ares 3 talk us through some of the...
Mark Watney is an astronaut whose resourceful and determined personality is the only thing he...
Commander Raiden (Clive Owen) of the seventh rank is a skilled and gifted soldier, who...
Following his deadly ordeal of being put through the Twelve Labours by his father Zeus...
A palpable sense of menace infuses this slow-burning Norwegian thriller, which is based on shocking,...
Hercules is a bitter and haunted demi-god filled with resentment for the people and the...
Petter is a passionate offshore diver who harbours dreams about reaching the depths of the...
John McClane, a trigger happy New York cop, returns in the fifth movie of the...