Posts Tagged ‘director Ridley Scott’


Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 2.27.05 PMRichard’s CP24 reviews for Matt Damon in “The Martian” and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Pierre Petit in “The Walk.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

THE MARTIAN: 4 STARS. “Thrilling, funny and, above all, human.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 5.40.46 PMThis isn’t Ridley Scott’s first trip to space but the director of “Alien” and “Prometheus” takes a different kind of journey in “The Martian.” Thrilling, funny and, above all, human, it’s a crowd-pleasing story about the power of the will to survive.

Matt Damon is Mark Watney, an astronaut left for dead during a mission to Mars. As the rest of the crew heads for Earth (Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Aksel Hennie, Michael Peña and Sebastian Stan) Watney comes to 140 million miles from home. A botanist by trade, to survive he knows he’ll have to “science the BLEEP out of this.” Rationing the food left behind and growing his own potatoes he’s able to feed himself, but the supplies won’t last forever.

When NASA receives a message from Mars, “Hi, I’m Mark Watney and I’m still alive… obviously,” teams of scientists and Mark’s old crew stage a daring rescue attempt.

The trick to casting a movie like “The Martian” lies in finding an actor able to hold the screen for extended periods of time by himself while being likeable enough to have an audience care whether or not he makes it back to Earth in one piece. Since Tom Hanks has aged out of playing roles like this, Damon, recently named as Hollywood’s Most Bankable Actor by Forbes, is that guy. His mix of humour, smarts and all-American problem solving keep you invested in Watney during the long stretches he putters around finding ways beat the insurmountable odds.

The rest of the film isn’t as engaging as Damon’s “Castaway” act. “The Martian” is composed of three components: Life on Mars, Ground Control and the Space Cowboys who hurtle through the universe to rescue their lost friend. Each are well cast—Jeff Daniels is perfect as the spearhead of the NASA rescue and Peña brings some wonky good humour—but the when the film leaves the Red Planet it leaves some of its heart behind. There is drama, conflict and even some humour in all segments, but the compelling stuff happens when the film is at its quietest, when Damon is alone MacGyvering his way out of a bad situation.

“The Martian” is a fun film, a space Western about the strength of the human spirit and the indomitable will. “Interstellar” tread similar thematic ground last year but did so without the humour, the cheesy 70’s soundtrack or, most importantly, Matt Damon.


Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 9.46.06 AMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for Matt Damon in “The Martian” and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Pierre Petit in “The Walk.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro: From Alien to The Martian: Space fantasy film gets realistic

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 1.30.10 PMBy Richard Crouse

Director Ridley Scott says his new film, The Martian, is much more realistic than his other, classic space dramas.

“The fantasy of space,” he said, “which is now also a reality, is a marvellous platform and a form of theatre. Honestly, almost anything goes. But, if anything goes whether you do a play, a book or a film, you’ve got to actually make your own rule book and stick within the confines of the rules you make. So, if I’m doing space fantasy like Alien or Prometheus, I’ve got to draw up the sidelines of the rule book and stick within them. It’s still a fantasy because it’s never going to happen. (The Martian) is a lot easier because, actually, you can lean very heavily on the science in the book. This was a much more realistic movie.”

That realism stems from source novel by Andy Weir, a self-professed science geek who worked to ensure that the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut who survives after being left for dead on Mars, felt genuine.

“The basic structure of the Mars program in the book is very similar to a plan called Mars Direct, though I made changes here and there,” he said, in a Q&A on the Penguin Random House website. “It’s the most likely way that we will have our first Mars mission in real life. All the facts about Mars are accurate, as well as the physics of space travel the story presents. I even calculated the various orbital paths involved in the story, which required me to write my own software to track constant-thrust trajectories.”

As research the actors met with representatives from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the European Space Agency.

“I got to go to the JPL in Pasadena and meet with all the robotics guys and see the Curiosity Rover and do virtual reality to be on Mars and see what that would be like,” said Jessica Chastain, who plays the commander of the Mars mission. “Then I went to Houston and met with Tracy Caldwell Dyson, who’s an astronaut and talked to her.”

The cast says filming the zero gravity and space walk scenes involved careful planning and wirework to make them look authentic. “It’s choreographed to within an inch of its life and we’re just along for the ride,” said Chastain. “It feels very much like a dance and there is choreography to it,” adds Kate Mara, “but, once you do it, you really do feel like a little kid.”

The former House of Cards star says Scott was enthusiastic about shooting those scenes. “Maybe he was just faking it really well (but he) seemed just as excited as we did when were doing the scenes floating through the air.”

Matt Damon, who demonstrated another technique to achieve the look of weightlessness on screen at The Martian TIFF press conference — standing on one leg while slowly waving his hands through the air — said that,“one of the things that is fun about making movies and (also) totally, totally ridiculous is that we are grownups doing this.”


Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.42.50 PMRichard hosted the “The Martian” press conference at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 11 with Kate Mara, Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Andy Weir, director Ridley Scott, Sean Bean,Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Drew Goddard.