Friday, October 23, 2015

It's Time the World Knew Her Name: JESSICA JONES trailer review

The very first trailer for Marvel's Jessica Jones has been released, and it's like falling in love with Brian Michael Bendis' Alias all over again.

The trailer opens with the very first scene of issue #1 of Alias, the comic that introduced Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter). The opening serves the same purpose for the trailer as well, and then we learn later in a conversation with Luke Cage (Mike Colter) that Jessica was a superhero before, but now she's over that part in her life. It's made clear that she's a private investigator and a somewhat gloomy alcoholic. The trailer sets up its tone and main character really well, somehow continuing the darker and more grounded nature of Marvel that was introduced in Daredevil while also showing that it has an entirely different approach to it. Like, if Daredevil was a crime drama, then Jessica Jones is a psychological thriller. It's clearly seen in all the scenes with the series' main villain, the Purple Man (David Tennant), as you see all the pain and suffering his mere presence triggers.

I like that we're adapting Bendis material onto Netflix now, because it allows for the exploration of Marvel's darker material without having that darkness and seriousness as the characters' defining traits. It's an amazing trailer, and I invite everyone to binge watch this series on November 20, because it's about damn time that this character got the praise she deserves.

Marvel's Jessica Jones hits Netflix on November 20.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

THE MARTIAN movie review

They found water on Mars and I found this to be a good movie, so Mars is pretty much on fire this weekend.

The Martian is the Ridley Scott directed film adaptation of the novel by Andy Weir. It stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney, an astronaut accidentally left on Mars by his crew and who has to survive until help gets there. By "there", I mean around 140,000,000 miles away.

I'm not the biggest Ridley Scott follower. Alien is brilliant and one of the best horror movies I've seen, but I'm really only familiar with his post-2010 films, which haven't really gone well with critics. However, I myself do enjoy them, as I do kind of like Prometheus and find The Counselor great. The Martian is no exception to this trend, because not only is it his best directorial effort post-2010 but it also sets itself as a nice counterpoint to Alien, one of the best science-fiction movies.

One of the biggest surprises of The Martian, at least to me, was that it wasn't a survival/thriller as the marketing made it out to be. It's more of a science-fiction/adventure movie than anything, and that's the aspect of this film that brings me the most joy. It's not a story of man struggling to survive on a desolate planet, it's actually a story of a scientist finding hope and new ways to solve problems in order to get back home. And in an age of the hardcore, distressing survival/thriller, it's rather nice to have a film that embraces intelligence, optimism, and exploration so wholeheartedly. In some ways, it's Scott's love letter to Math, Science, and uncharted territories - which pretty much makes it the opposite of Alien. Hopefully, the two prove to be an interesting duology some day.

Scott tackles the dunes of Mars in this film and does a great job directing. He manages to keep most of the film afloat with just Matt Damon, who's a natural. Visually, the film is impressive as well. The locations are really beautiful, the color pallet of the film is visually interesting, and the cinematography is amazing. Thankfully, Scott doesn't get lost in the scope of the film's visuals as it's still very much character driven, something Prometheus (even though I enjoyed) would've benefited from being.

Damon reaffirms his movie star status, while the rest of the substantial ensemble cast turn in good performances. Drew Goddard's screenplay shines the most, as it's equal parts intelligent and witty. The relationships between all the characters is well defined and the cast's chemistry is outstanding. The film is way funnier than anticipated as well, going back to my previous point about the film embracing optimism wholeheartedly.

Truthfully, the only downside was that the pacing of the film was off. It feels like the filmmakers did their best with what they had, but what they had was a story that ranged across several months on two separate planets with a main cast of about thirteen people, so the origin of the shortcoming is quite clear.

In The Martian, Ridley Scott boldly embraces the love for Math, Science, and the adventurous spirit, and makes one of the most spirited and intelligent outer space movies of the past few years.