#MattDamon Knows Help Is Only 140 Million Miles Away in #TheMartian’s First Trailer

The Martian, Matt Damon, Sir Ridley Scott, movie, poster

…and he’s gonna “science the shit out of {it}”.

From Sir Ridley Scott, with a cast as impressive as this one boasts, it’s a safe bet that I will see The Martian, even if it were a live action version of Bugs Bunny’s nemesis Marvin the Martian’s life story.  Judging from the just released first trailer, it is not. What it does appear to be is a combination of both Gravity and Interstellar while managing to up the ante on them both.

I.CAN’T.WAIT.

Take a look at this:

While I’m on record as not being a proponent of 3D just for the sake of it, I believe a movie like this will probably benefit from every bit of technological wizardry that’s thrown at it. I’ll see it in IMAX 3D if it’s available.

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) 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. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.

While Sir Ridley needs no introduction, The Martian is based on a best-selling (first) novel* by Andy Weir, and the screenplay was written by Drew Goddard, also responsible for the scripts for Cloverfield (and its upcoming sequel), The Cabin in the Woods, and World War Z, as well as a lot of episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, “Alias” and “Lost”. Oh yeah, and he created current Netflix hit “Daredevil”.

As he did with Prometheus, Scott has embraced the era of viral marketing. The first promo for The Martian has been released, called “Ares Farewell”. In it, Matt Damon’s Mark Watney “interviews” the crew of the Ares (which for some reason he calls the Hermes. I wonder if the ship’s name was changed?**) as they do their final pre-flight checks. It’s designed to be viewed on your computer or device screen and includes pop-up “tweets”. One of which, “Vogel (Aksel Hennie) has to be the #synthetic right…#AresLive”, is a brilliant reference to characters in Ridley Scott’s previous space films, Alien and Prometheus.

Besides Damon, the cast includes Jessica Chastain***, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Hennie, Donald Glover and Mackenzie Davis.

The Martian, Matt Damon, Sir Ridley Scott, movie, poster

The Martian opens all over this planet beginning with the US on November 25 and the UK on 27th November.

*Weir first published the book in blog form on his own site. When people asked for a downloadable form, he offered it on Amazon for Kindle download at the (then) minimum price of $0.99. Now that’s a self-publishing success story.
**Ares is the Greek God of war. Hermes is the Greek God of transitions and boundaries, as well as being a messenger and a protector and patron of travelers. He’s the equivalent of the Roman God Mercury. Both are typically depicted with wings on their heels and/or helmets. JMHO, but Hermes seems like a better name for the spacecraft taking a crew to Mars.
***Both Damon and Chastain appeared in Interstellar, but shared no scenes together.

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#TomCruise is Still Trying to Get That Door Open in 2nd Trailer for MI:5 – Rogue Nation

Mission Impossible, Rogue Nation, movie, poster, Tom Cruise

The Avengers may have kicked off the summer tent-pole season, but for my money, it won’t be official until I hear the opening strains of Lalo Schifrin’s “Mission Impossible” theme.

Call me crazy, but I still get excited whenever I hear the “dun dun dun dun DUN dun”. I still look forward to whatever shenanigans that Ethan Hunt and company are likely to get up to in the latest installment of the Mission Impossible film franchise. Despite how looney tunes Tom Cruise is, may be, or you perceive him to be, he continues to provide a pretty reliable return on the investment of  whatever you paid for your ticket. JMHO, but I think he’s crazy like a fox. He’s still one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, whatever we think of him here at home. And I don’t think the fact that he puts 110% into his performances (or at least 110% of what he has left after the Thetans have taken their cut) can be called into question. Those big global bucks ensure that, even at 52,  Paramount is still willing to let Cruise run amok by doing his own stunts, (which seem to get more outrageous the older he gets and despite the fact that he was injured six times on this film) and the special effects wizards keep getting to invent at least semi-plausible weapons and gadgets. (Can you imagine if Ethan Hunt were to team up with James Bond?)

The IMF team once again includes Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames. The new addition is Rebecca Ferguson (“The White Queen”) plays the film’s Ilsa Faust (a better name for a femme fatale has not been cooked up since, well, since Natasha Fatale), stepping into the shoes vacated by Paula Patton as Ethan’s arm candy. Faust, judging from the trailer, would seem to have some skills as well.

Natasha Fatale

Other newcomers include Simon McBurney, the always excellent and usually menacing Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin as the head of the CIA who apparently wants the heads of the IMF on a plate.

Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.

The Syndicate is the name of the organization that regularly provided the baddies for the original “Mission: Impossible” tv show. (What SPECTRE is to Bond and T.H.R.U.S.H.  is to the Man From U.N.C.L.E. – both of which will be revisited this year. That’s why Paramount moved the release date up from Christmas. MI5 gets to be first. Here’s a bit of trivia: Cruise was cast as Napoleon Solo, but dropped out to focus on MI5.) The film starts where Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (hard to believe that was 3 1/2 years ago) ends, with Ethan prepping his team to investigate the Syndicate.  Anyway, watch this:

“This may be our last mission. Let’s make it count.”  As if. As long as they keep making money, Tom Cruise will keep making Mission Impossible movies. I’m sure someone can figure out how to turn a walker into a weapon.  Bring it.

Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (who has become Cruise’s go-to collaborator of late), Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation opens in the UK on 30th July and in the US on July 31.

JMHO Trailer Park: Blue-Eyed #JasonMomoa, #MichaelShannon Becomes Nucky,#JakeGyllenhaal Goes Up a Mountain & #CareyMulligan Takes a Stand

Debug, poster, movie, Jason Momoa, David Hewlett

I’m already skeptical whenever I find out about a film just prior to its release, after filming has taken place, posters put out, clips slipped to media outlets, etc.  I’m especially suspicious when the star of the flick is someone to whom I usually pay rather close attention. In this case, the movie is Debug and its “star” is Jason Momoa.

So, what exactly is going on here?

“Deep space. Six young hackers on a grueling work release program attempt to clear out – debug – the computer systems of a massive derelict space freighter. They quickly fall prey to the ship’s vengeful artificial intelligence, a program that would kill to be human. As the fractious team is forced to match wits with this rogue program, they discover that the ship holds a deadly secret, and a fate far worse than death.” 

Uh huh.

JoBlo has gotten their hands on an exclusive clip, in which Jason Momoa as Iam is doing battle with someone called Kaida (Jeaneann Goossen) which you can take a look at below:

Momoa’s the only “name” in the cast and his face is front and center on the poster, but he’s listed with “and”, which leads me to believe that it’s a cameo and there isn’t much more of him than in the clip.

The writer/director of this magnum opus is one David Hewlett. Yes, “Stargate: Atlantis” fans, THAT David Hewlett. I can only surmise that Mr. Momoa signed on as a favor to an old friend. The rest of the cast includes Tenika Davis, Adrian Holmes, Adam Butcher and Kerr Hewitt. JMHO, but I can’t see anything to recommend Debug, other than as a curiosity.

Jason Momoa, movie, photo, Debug, David Hewlett

Except that it’s hard to find fault with a blue-eyed Jason Momoa. Yes, I’m that shallow.

Debug gets a simultaneous (limited) theatrical, dvd & blu-ray bow on June 12.

99 Homes, Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern, movie, poster

At the other end of the spectrum, 99 Homes has been making a splash on the festival circuit for nearly a year, screening to critical acclaim at 2014’s Venice, Telluride and Toronto Fests, as well as Sundance 2015, among others. I’ve been wondering when or even if, it was going to get a domestic release. The answer is yes, on September 25.

The always excellent, always watchable Michael Shannon stars with Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern, Tim Guinee and (our social-media friend) Noah Lomax, in writer/director Ramin Bahrani‘s look at the fall-out from the economic collapse that forced millions of Americans from their homes. Frankly, I can’t wait to see how he fashioned a thriller out of the very real pain from which a lot of those people are still reeling.

A father struggles to get back the home that his family was evicted from by working for the greedy real estate broker who’s the source of his frustration.

Bahrani’s previous films have all been interested in social justice, from 2005’s award-winning Man Push Cart to 2012’s undervalued and underseen At Any Price (with Dennis Quaid).

Here, Garfield plays single dad Dennis Nash and Shannon, Rick Carver, the real estate agent who took his home. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that Laura Dern is old enough to play Andrew Garfield’s mother, but all glibness aside, the trailer alone will gut-punch you. Likening the housing crisis of the early 21st century to the Great Depression of the 20th, let me say that this isn’t Henry Gondorff and Johnny Hooker trying to take down fat-cat Doyle Lonnegan. This is The Grapes of Wrath with oranges.

The trailer:

99 HOMES hits theaters September 25, 2015.

Everest, Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal, movie, photo

Based on a true story, Baltasar Kormakur‘s Everest, tells the tale of two climbing expeditions trapped on the titular mountain by a severe storm. Personally I don’t know why anyone would want to climb the world’s highest peak, but then again, I can’t climb to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument without getting severe  .

I would, however, pay for a ticket to watch Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley and Jason Clarke battle the elements as they attempt to reach the summit of said mountain. Especially when the screenplay comes from Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and Lem Dobbs (The Limey) among others.

As revealed in the trailer sets up an understandably intense battle of man versus nature when one of the biggest snowstorms in recorded history bears down on the two groups  of climbers.

The cast also includes Robin Wright, Josh Brolin, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Kelly, John Hawkes, Martin Henderson and Vanessa Kirby, to name but a few.

Take a look:

Everest opens in the US on September 18 and in the UK on 25th September.

Anne-Marie Duff, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Romola Garai, photo, movie, Suffragette

It’s 2015 and we’re (hopefully) about to elect the first female President of these United States. How is it possible that Suffragette is the first feature film to tell the story of the movement that that led to the right of women to vote, first in Great Britain and then in America. Call them suffragettes or call them early feminists, these women risked everything for what should be a basic human right in a civilized society, something as simple as having a voice that counted.

The foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State.

Maybe it’s because, while there have been victories, the war continues, maybe it’s the raw humanity that star Carey Mulligan so effortlessly projects, or maybe it was just the ethereal version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” sung by Robyn Sherwell, but this trailer gave me chills.

It was smart to limit La Streep’s appearance in this first trailer. As the head of the movement Emmeline Pankhurst, I expect Meryl Streep to have little more than a cameo and the film shouldn’t be sold on her name alone.  Helena Bonham Carter, Anne-Marie Duff and most especially, Mulligan, are obviously the heart and soul.

Written by Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady), Suffragette also stars two of the cast of her BBC drama “The Hour”, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw.  The patriarchal oppressors are represented by Brendan Gleason, Geoff Bell, and Samuel West. The rest of the cast includes Morgan Watkins, Natalie Press and Adrian Schiller. Directed by Sarah Gavron, Suffragette will open the BFI London Film Festival on 7th October before opening in the US (23rd) and the UK (30th) later in the month.  Expect this to be  major player come awards season.