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The Martian ✪✪✪✪✪ (opens 1st October)
I read Andy Weir’s amazing bestseller The Martian about two years ago and loved it. A publisher picked him, 20th Century Fox optioned the film, and director Ridley Scott jointed the production to bring the film to screen within two years.
The film is arguably better than the book, a rarity. If you see the film, read the book because the book has its own quirky voice and is filled with fascinating science calculations that couldn’t be adapted fully in the film.
Astronaut Mark Watney is left for dead on Mars when his fellow crewmates make an emergency evacuation from the surface. Our intrepid science hero, however, is not dead, but left stranded on a hostile planet with meager supplies and a habitat that wasn’t meant to sustain human beings for years. He can’t signal Earth because the communication’s array is broken, and it’ll be four years before the next planned mission arrives to discover him. As he says, for him to survive, he’ll need to “science the sh.. out of this.” Mark races against time facing challenge after challenge to stay alive until help arrives. Back on Earth, NASA, realizing they have a man alive on Mars, set to work inventing new ways save him a la Apollo 13.
Matt Damon perfectly embodies Mark Watney’s dry sense of humor and wit, making for an intensely likable hero. You want Mark Watney to survive. The supporting cast are faultless. Jessica Chastain is the devastated commander of the mission, forced to leave a crewmember behind, then is horrified to discover he’s alive. Jeff Daniels, a long way from his goofy Dumb and Dumber character, heads NASA, fronting the exploration of various plans to get back his man, while still playing on the right side of space politics. Kristen Wiig, in a non-comedic role for a change, shows her versatility as the PR Director.
There’s dozens of other well-played support from a talented ensemble cast, but the greatest star might be the set design. Twenty sets were built on a sound stage in Budapest, Hungary, one of the largest in the world. In the Mars’ surface scenes, filmed in Jordan, you’d swear you were looking at the real planet. Andy Weir developed a relationship with NASA after he published his novel, and the space program worked with director Ridley Scott to accurately depict the film's science and technology.
This is one of the best science fiction movies ever made. You don’t want to miss it on the big screen. See it in 3D or Imax to really appreciate filmmaking at its best.
Director: Ridley Scott Stars: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. From the book by indie author Andy Weir.
Macbeth ✪✪✪✪ (opens 1st October LUNA cinemas)
Directed by Australian Justin Kurzel, who also directed the acclaimed Snowtown and The Turning based on Tim Winton’s short stories, this is not Shakespeare like you’ve ever seen Shakespeare. For some, the Scottish accents along with the 17th Century language might make the film difficult to follow. I love Shakespeare so it wasn’t a problem for me, but I did hear a few complaints.
This is a beautiful, artistic interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s most tragic and dramatic works and it needs to be seen on the big screen. If you’re a fan of the bard’s work, then you don’t want to miss this. Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth is nothing short of stunning and Michael Fassbender is too perfect as the good man who would be king at all costs and pays the price. Funnily enough I hadn’t realized some of our sayings are from this play. The one that struck me was ‘what's done is done’ and ‘Therein the patient must minister to himself.’ You need to make up your mind whether this grabs you. Check the trailers.
Macbeth is the story of a fearless warrior and inspiring leader brought low by ambition and desire. A thrilling interpretation of the dramatic realities of the times and a reimagining of what wartime must have been like for one of literature's most famous and compelling characters, a story of all-consuming passion and ambition set in war torn Scotland.
Pan (not reviewed) (Opened 24th September)
I was away for this preview, but a friend went along with their family and they told me they really enjoyed it. The kids aged from 10 to 15 all thought it was great and Hugh Jackman made a very good Captain Blackbeard. The director Joe Wright also directed Atonement, Pride & Prejudice, Hanna, and Anna Karina, so he’s clearly experienced with costumes. I’m seeing it soon and will give you a full report then.
Director: Joe Wright Stars: Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara
12-year-old orphan Peter is spirited away to the magical world of Neverland, where he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny -- to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.
Sicario ✪✪✪✪✪ (Opened 24th September)
From the first minutes of Sicario until the last, you will feel as though you are on a wild chase. You don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know what will happen, and you won’t even realize you’ve barely breathed until the credits come up. Close to the best film I’ve seen all year, if it’s not nominated multiple times in the awards season, then I’ll eat my reviewer’s hat.
Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio Del Toro arguably give the best performances of their careers, and that’s saying something with these actors. It reminds me of the edge-of-the-seat last thirty minutes of Argo except with Sicario it’s the entire two hours.
Kate Macer (Emilby Blunt) is an idealistic FBI agent enlisted by a mysterious government task force as a consultant on a daring mission to halt the escalating war against drugs on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Arrogant and dismissive Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) repeatedly tells Kate to ‘watch and learn’ as she is dragged into one dangerous situation after another without a clue as to what is really going on. Shadowy and aloof Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) accompanies the team, while Kate grows increasingly concerned as to who he is and why he is with them. She begins to suspect nothing is what she is being told. The body count grows as the team head into Mexico, participating in illegal activities of which Kate doesn’t approve. Who are these agents, what are they really doing, and how far will they go to fight the drug lords?
The answer is revealed in the last minutes of the film, and the audience is left wondering who are the good guys and who are the bad. The only the thing you will know for sure is you will have just experienced one of the finest dramas in years. 5 stars.
In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent [Emily Blunt] is enlisted by an elite government task force official [Josh Brolin] to aid in the escalating war against drugs. Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past [Benicio Del Toro], the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive. (C) Lionsgate
Learning to Drive Sunday Soiree
Date: Sunday 11th October
Time: 2.15pm arrival, 2.45pm film start
Location: Windsor Cinema Details and Booking
To celebrate the release of LEARNING TO DRIVE, Windsor Cinema will host a Sunday Soiree on 11 October (2.15pm arrival, 2.45pm film start).
Described by NZ Herald as “A feelgood cross-cultural comedy of manners” - what could be more fitting than a high-tea?
Upon arrival guests will be treated to Brown Brothers Prosecco or Sparkling Moscato Rosa along with sweet treats from Delish Ice.
Written by a friend of mine, Sarah Kernochan, who also wrote Somersby and 9 ½ Weeks and the concept for What Lies Beneath, I can’t wait to see this. Wendy (Clarkson), a successful and self-obsessed book editor, comes home to her New York City brownstone one day to find her husband Ted (Jake Weber) leaving her — again. But this time it's for good, and Wendy's initial denial turns into grief, anger, and a hard determination to become self-sufficient. That means learning to drive so she can visit her daughter Tasha (Grace Gummer) at college in Vermont. Wendy's determination wavers when she's faced with the confusing reality of an automobile dashboard, but fortunately she has Darwan ( Ben Kingsley), the world's most conscientious driving instructor. As Darwan guides Wendy through her automotive education, his patience invites her to open up about her problems. In turn, Wendy's volatile feelings about her changing marital status serve to highlight Darwan's deeply private concerns about his own impending marriage, and their relationship evolves in unexpected and touching ways.
Lavazza Italian Film Festival
Date: 24th September until 14th October
Location: Cinema Paradiso & Luna SX Fremantle Details and Booking
Presented by Palace, the Lavazza Italian Film Festival will open with box-office hit GOD WILLING (SE DIO VUOLE). Director Edoardo Falcone’s laugh out loud comedy starring Alessandro Gassman addresses the vast and varied interaction of atheists and believers with fresh, modern eyes, and celebrates open-mindedness and the courage it takes to change for the better.
Other festival highlights include Venice multi award winning THE DINNER (I NOSTRI RAGAZZI), and the elegant, seething and expertly-directed, BLACK SOULS (ANIME NERE) by Francesco Munzi direct from Official Selection at Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals. Directed by Riccardo Milani DO YOU SEE ME? (SCUSATE SE ESISTO!) is a warm-hearted, comedic gem.
Aidi Met Opera Encoure
Date: 3rd October & 4th October
Time: 11:30 Luna Leederville and 1PM Luna SX
Location: Luna Leederville & Luna SX Fremantle Details and Booking
“The combined fervor of Olga Borodina as Amneris and Fabio Luisi at the helm of a fired-up orchestra made for an electrically charged and energetic performance” (New York Times).
Set in ancient Egypt, Aida is both a heartbreaking love story and an epic drama full of spectacular crowd scenes. A cast of powerful voices and a grand production bring the story to life on the Met stage (and on the HD screen). “Ms. Monastyrska, a native of Kiev, Ukraine, and an established star at that city’s opera house, comes to the Met a fully mature artist. She is gifted with a luscious round soprano that maintains its glow even in the softest notes. Her “O patria mia” was beautifully drawn and colored with darker inflections that added dramatic intensity.” Original screening: 2012.