The Trailer Park: Mars Needs Damons

Some of the best known and respected actors are starring in roles that demand pretty big shoes this year. In the past, they’ve proven themselves adequately and, for the most part, to the satisfaction of the box office. Aside from one long-time favorite of many, however, the question remains whether they will satisfy moviegoers later this year.

‘The Martian’

Director Ridley Scott takes audiences back to the place where no one can hear you scream, and thankfully, it’s not another stupid manned mission with dumb scientists doing dumb things. Instead, we have a dramatic thriller with smart rocket scientists trying to do smart things for good reasons. Based on the best-selling novel by Andy Weir, the story is very simple but also pretty brilliant in its scope, as a stranded astronaut intelligently figures out ways to survive on the treacherous, barren terrains of Mars. We don’t see many performances outside of Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, which is fine by me since they’re both great actors, but the preview makes it look like there might be more emphasis on the action than story, which worries me a bit. Nevertheless, the trailer has piqued my interest and I’ll definitely catch this on the big screen.

‘Bridge of Spies’

I love a good espionage flick, and this latest from the genius of Steven Spielberg looks absolutely brilliant! Of course, it’s only a teaser trailer, and we all know how these short, brief glimpses of the final product can be misleading. Still, Spielberg and Tom Hanks have shown they work very well together, and this looks to satisfy expectations once more.

Over the last three decades since ‘Philadelphia’, the guy we loved watching in comedies throughout the ’80s has proven that he has the dramatic chops to put others to shame, that he’s a force to be reckoned with. On the plus side, the Coen brothers also had a hand in the screenplay, based on the 1960 U-2 incident, making this film all the more exciting when it’s released in October.

‘Black Mass’

Going by box office numbers, Johnny Depp has been losing some popularity points with his last few, really terrible movies. In Scott Cooper’s ‘Black Mass’, based on the criminal activities of the notorious Whitey Bulger, Depp hopes to regain some of the public admiration. If the trailer for the film is any indication, I can see him accomplishing that goal. As the most famous and arguably highest-paid character actor, he promises a brilliant performance that looks quite chilling. With a strong supporting cast at his side – including Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon and Peter Sarsgaard – I have high hopes for this crime drama.

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  1. Matt Damon gets stranded on an uninhabited alien planet AGAIN?! NASA has really got to stop sending him to outer space. This is becoming an annoying habit.

    The movie looks like a knockoff of Gravity, but on Mars instead of in orbit. Knowing Ridley Scott’s recent track record, my hopes aren’t terribly high for it.

  2. Chris B

    Looks a little too similar to Interstellar (as Josh has already alluded to).. Two of the same cast members, barren planet, heck even the spinny spaceship looks remarkably same-ish. Not to mention it even has a November release date. I wonder what the production schedule looked like on the two movies, like if this had been in development off-and-on for the last decade and then Nolan’s space movie showed up…I’d be pissed if I were Scott. Speaking of Ridley, his best work has obviously been in the Sci-Fi genre, maybe it will be good? Can’t be any worse than the fucking Counselor.

    • I’ve got two words for you: fucking Prometheus.

      The Martian is based on a novel that was self-published by its author in 2011, then picked up and re-released by a major publisher in 2014. I would imagine that Hollywood came calling after the latter.

      • Chris B

        Lol…I kind of expected that response. I’d still rather watch Prometheus though, for all the bad writing at least there’s lot’s of eye candy…and no, I’m not referring to Logan-Marshall Green’s flawless bone structure and ripped abs….*ahem* I’m talking about all the spaceships and crap! The dialogue in The Counselor was literally embarassing, I was sitting there watching it with my wife and I was actually EMBARASSED that I had picked that movie to watch, that doesn’t happen very often.

        On the subject of Ridley Scott though, have you considered the possibilty that maybe his work just isn’t for you? You’ve stated in the past you don’t think he’s made a “decent” movie since Blade Runner. If a director hasn’t made any movies you like in the last 30+ years maybe you’re following the wrong artist. We all have filmakers who’s work we don’t care for (Joel Schumacher I’m looking in your direction), even Scott’s movies that are near universally praised (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down), you hate with a passion. Maybe stop torturing yourself with his work?

        For the record, I’m not trying to be antagonistic, just throwing it out there.

        • For better or worse, Ridley Scott is a major A-List filmmaker still directing very prominent movies. He’s sort of unavoidable.

          The most frustrating thing about Scott is that he’s also still talented in the technical aspects of his trade. He’s difficult to write completely off, because I keeping hoping he’ll find the right project that will return him to the glory days of his early career. Right up until I actually saw it, I really hoped Prometheus would be that project. Sadly, it wasn’t.

          Unfortunately, the more movies he makes, the worse Scott gets at the basic fundamentals of storytelling. That’s clearly the least interesting aspect of the filmmaking process to him, and the thing that he prioritizes at the absolute bottom of his task list.

          I do hate Gladiator with a passion. I do hate Prometheus with a passion. Black Hawk Down I just think is an overrated piece of jingoistic war-porn. That one I less hate than am simply indifferent to.

  3. THE MARTIAN looks good, but I’ve been let down so many times by Ridley Scott, I don’t have high hopes.

    I guess FOX moved the release date from Thanksgiving to Oct. 2nd.

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