Now that would be a movie! In the meantime, one has to be content with viewing these separately.
The Martian tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, who is abandoned on the surface of Mars when his fellow astronauts believe he has died in a sandstorm. Only, not so much. He has to find a way to survive on a desert planet, without any means of communicating with NASA.
This was a really engrossing film. Mark has to work through one challenge after another: water, food, heat, communication. He has success, but also dramatic and unexpected setbacks. You can never quite relax into this movie. As Jean put it: “I wasn’t bored!”
The Danish Girl
Shifting gears completely, The Danish Girl is based on the true story of artist Einer Wegener, who comes to believe he is really a woman in the body of a man: A not commonly accepted idea back in 1926.
Eddie Redmayne has the flashy dual role of Einer and the woman he transitions to, Lili Elbe—and he’s very good. But this is the story of a marriage, and Alicia Vikander, is just luminous and amazing as Gerda Wegener. At the beginning of the movie, these two are truly in love. Gerda initially sees her husband’s explorations with the Lili persona as an amusing game. When she realizes how serious the “game” actually is, her desire to be supportive conflicts with the fact that means losing her beloved husband.
As Jean put it: “That was a very good film.”
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Just wanted to mention this one—that I saw on Netflix—because it was so different from what was expecting, which was a bit of campy fun. But it’s actually a fairly serious look at the life of Abraham Lincoln and the challenges of the Civil War—only, there are vampires. Involved in the slave trade. Fighting for the south.
I wouldn’t call this a “must see” film, but it was certainly a whole lot better than Jean and I were expecting. Great effects, too.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Warning that this review is somewhat spoilery.
To start with some positives: Yes, I liked the new characters of Rey and Finn. She is awesome. And it’s great idea, getting us to know learn about one of the people behind those StormTrooper masks.
It was generally a well-made film in terms of cinematography, pacing, dialogue… A nice step up from Lucas. (And note that I’ve never even seen two of the star wars “prequel” films.) And sure, it was fun to see the original characters (though I’m not sure they gave Leia enough to do).
But… Was it really necessary to more or less redo the plot of the first Star Wars, with some bits of Empire Strikes Back thrown in? I was really kind of amazed they went there. Really, another Death Star? Only bigger? (Yet with a way less dramatic battle against it?) I thought this was supposed to be a sequel, not a remake.
So overall, not being a big Star Wars person, I didn’t really understand why everyone was over the moon about this movie. I’m happy for them, but I don’t feel it.
This movie was entertaining enough. That’s about all.