Tag: Matt Damon


Alexander Payne has probably had one of the more interesting director careers out of anyone. Or at least anyone who isn’t an A-list always nominated amazing director.

I first saw one of his films, Citizen Ruth, when I was about 8 years old or so. It was NOT made for an 10 year old to watch, especially not on his own with no context, but I did it. Eventually I also saw Election, which I loved, and Sideways, and The Descendants, and Nebraska. At any of these points I never watched them knowing it was the director of these previous films I liked, because they are all so different and out there.

But for Downsizing, this is the first time I have gone in knowing the director, knowing his history and ready for something just bizarre.

And the trailers and plot surely delivered on that front.

The world is falling apart, due to pollution, global warming, and too many goddamn babies. And scientists have been trying to find cures that the public would believe and trust and they may have finally done it! You see, Dr. Jorgen Asbjørnsen (Rolf Lassgård), the mad Norweigian that he is, has successfully shrunk some rats in a way with no side effects and no premature deaths. So he did it on himself, his wife, and dozens of volunteers.

Yadda yadda yadda, many years later, there are many communities around the world of little folk, people are doing it not to save the planet, but to live like kings. Because their money in the real average sized world is worth a lot more when you are tiny, and you can live in giant mansions, never working again! It is the life for some, and a good choice.

Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey Safranek (Kristen Wiig) have been living very uneventful lives up to that point, never really going anywhere, gaining anything, or just really existing beyond a blip on the radar. Going small can make them happy. So why not, why not change their lives, try it out and take hold of their destiny.

And of course, of course, they will find out that being small isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. Record scratch and everything. Also starring Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Ingjerd Egeberg, Udo Kier, Jason Sudeikis, and James Van Der Beek.

Flower Power becomes an actual usable form of energy!

The Downsizing trailer made me really excited for this film. A nice shrinking film from a different point of view, starring everyone’s favorite Damon!

And the film that actually exists is very different from the trailer. It is a little bit about global warming, but really it is just a film to talk about class imbalances in society. Not a bad topic for a film, and this type of story can be a good way to tell that story. Downsizing just told its story terribly.

Our main character is just a passive bitch who just really sucks. He doesn’t move much, he is boring, and it never really pays off. There are some exciting people around him, but they are side characters and don’t get the screen time. Chau gets a ton of screen time, but she seems like some perfect character that isn’t exciting for different reasons. And honestly, I cannot tell if it is offensive, or inspiring, or what.

The ending is a let down, although there is at least one twist I only sort of saw coming, so that was nice.

Downsizing is a little film with grand big ambitions. But the story just drags along and goes places that aren’t as interesting as they must have seemed on paper. And let’s just say, 2016/2017 were bad for Damon. Basically everything since The Martian, except one cameo role. Suburbicon, The Great Wall, and Jason Bourne have all failed to deliver, and maybe his career is just on the decline now.

1 out of 4.


Hooray the Coen brothers! Their last picture was Hail, Cesar! Which I have a 4 out of 4 to, but in retrospect it was a weak 4. It was just so bizarre and atypical for films that I couldn’t hate it.

So I had pretty high hopes with Suburbicon. It is set in the past, it has quirky characters and a murder plot so fowl. It is probably going to be similar to Fargo just with worse accents.

I really wanted to see it but I was surprised at the lack of, well, anything about the movie. Advertising was basically nonexistent for this film, like it was meant to be buried before it even premiered. And damn it, George Clooney is the director, his name used to mean something.

Falling Down
Maybe some elements will also bring us back to Falling Down.

Welcome to Suburbicon! A community set in the 1960’s or early 70’s. Life is perfect here. There are jobs, there are families with husbands and wives, there are kids who play baseball in the lots. There are no big fences between their houses, there is no crime, and everyone is happy, happy, happy.

And then a new family moves in, the Mayers (Leith M. Burke, Karimah Westbrook, Tony Espinosa). They are black. This sort of thing really shakes up their community, as apparently most of the families left their homes to move here just because of how white it is. They think this family will ruin their community and will go out of there way to make their stay miserable until they decide to leave.

But that is only one small part of the movie. The other part deals with the Lodge family. Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) is running his own business, living with his wife Rose (Julianne Moore), who is in a wheelchair, and son Nicky (Noah Jupe). Sometimes her twin, Margaret (Moore), also stays with them. After Nicky ends up playing baseball with the new neighbor’s son, the Lodge family are woken up by two goons (Glenn Fleshler, Alex Hassell) who are threatening and mean.

This leads to a death in the family, which is only the first of a series of weird things to occur after their new neighbors arrive. It turns out that this area might not have been as happy as everyone had imagined.

Also featuring Oscar Isaac as an insurance man.

I’d let him give me an insurance adjustment anytime.

There is something odd about Suburbicon, in its core, that makes it really hard to get into for a really long time. With wonderful dark comedy writers at the helm, you would think it would be a surefire hit, or at lease a cult classic. But this will not be either of these things and it will be promptly forgotten in the annals of cinema.

Is it like Fargo? Yeah, a bit, but Fargo had charming characters that you could invest in on both sides. This movie basically has a little kid and a neighbor family that is a distracting subplot.

And maybe that is a bigger problem with the film. As the intro goes, it is clear that the ideal utopia place to live is super white. It is clear that there will probably be a black family to move into the neighborhood and force some issues. And these things do happen, but only to provide a rather large and awkward distraction of the main plot.

I’m an America as racially divided and tense as it is right now, how could they decide to treat a real issue facing people now as some sort of fluff piece? It shows real anger and scary situations, but every time it heads back to the main family with their insane plot it reminds the viewer that “no, they are not important. This white family is really the important one.”

The reason for all the chaos makes sense. By having it in the background, we are able to give a reason why all of the film’s plot can take place without too much notice. But even if it makes sense, it is still an incredibly insensitive and poor choice for the creators to make.

The acting is fine. Some of the twists are fine. Oscar Isaac was great in his two scenes. Top notch. It slightly saved it from a 0.

1 out of 4.

Jason Bourne

The Bourne series of films are not my overall cup of tea. The original trilogy got worse with each additional movie for me, with less realism, and overall just less interest. They got really close to Luc Besson Euro-Trash level of films.

But The Bourne Legacy I did enjoy, most since Identity, because it at least gave me something different. I was mostly alone with these thoughts and people were angry at Jeremy Renner and wanted their Matt Damon on. In fact, they never even considered having Renner involved. Pretty crazy.

So now we have Jason Bourne. A return to Jason Bourne the character. Apparently we know his name. Apparently this is what we want and need. And yes, I hate the title of this, the fifth film. Makes it feel like a reboot.

I honestly can’t hype up shirtless Matt Damon like I can other actors.

In this time line, Jason (Damon) is minding his own business, kicking ass in gambling fighting rings and keeping to himself. But you know who isn’t keeping to herself? Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles), a member of their same program who also has gone rogue. But she is a hacker or something, so she goes to Reykjavík to access the CIA database and steal a lot of files. The CIA of course finds out and tries to tack her. But not before Nicky can contact Jason to let him know that he NEEDS to know more.

Like that Jason’s dad (Gregg Henry) is involved in all of this, or was, back in the day. That he may have been considered for the program before he volunteered to sign up. That he could have been watched for a long time. Oh no! Time to get some classic Bourne revenge. Once he can get out of Athens and the political riots existing for reasons. Probably the economy. Dunno.

His revenge is going to be against CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones), who has been there for awhile even though this is the first time you have heard about him. He has a new head of technology or something, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), who is going to use her sweet computer skills to find Bourne and Parsons. There is also a CIA agent who we only know as Asset (Vincent Cassel) who would love to get some Bourne revenge and Riz Ahmed playing the creator of some sort of website/social networking thing that people really love for not spying on its users.

Also starring Ato Essandoh, Scott Shepherd, and Bill Camp.

There has to be a way for this still to not make everyone look like uncomfortable mannequins.

Bourne Bourne Bourne. I might be doing some revisionist history here, but I feel like what I remember about The Bourne Identity is that it helped kill James Bond and also introduced us to shaky-cam for action movies. It added some realism to the fights making them more chaotic. I don’t remember them being that bad, but it has also been many years since I saw that film.

Jason Bourne goes to some EXTREMES with the shaky cam aspect. It goes to more extremes than Billy Joel. And it isn’t just shaky cams. We get quick cuts all over the place, and the camera zooming in quickly into peoples faces. Zooming in, cut, cut, shake, zoom. The hacking scenes early on felt EXTREMELY HECTIC and it just never stopped. We had shaky cam for people just walking into hotels and restaurants, completely chill situations, but there is no time to relax.

About a third of the way through the movie, I had a headache, and yes, it stuck with me for the rest of the film. At least with Hardcore Henry I barely got a headache and it offered something original. In this movie, it is Bourne finds out new secret information about the government program some how and gets revenge. Like every Bourne film before that (I think, I forget).

The ending has an extremely long and disaster filled car chase, but it is so over the top, any level of previous realism the franchise had is just thrown out of the window. It wasn’t enjoyable, it just dragged. Not to mention understanding just what is happening during it is a battle in itself. You know why. The constant cuts and shakes. It wasn’t Getaway bad, but it was damn near close.

For Jason Bourne, the stakes just aren’t there. The Asset is an interesting character at least, someone who Bourne did screw over. So I could not find myself cheering his eventual demise because of other plot reasons. This film wants to launch more Bourne films, it leaves it way too open with more secrets to find out. And they will be made but I will not be happy to see them if they keep up this repetitive plot line and refuse to change it up for once. Or maybe, just maybe, make the damn thing watchable.

1 out of 4.

The Martian

Everyone knows that James Cameron really loves the ocean. He is stupid rich and just wants to conquer it.

In some ways, I am starting to think that Matt Damon is like a James Cameron-lite. He doesn’t like water, but he is starting to love the shit out of outer space. Three films in three years have featured a Mr. Damon spending time away from Earth. First in Elysium, he went from the slums to the orbit. But you know, he was just there for a little bit. In Interstellar, he was in space for a long..long time. And he was alone!

Think of it like a Three Bears situation. In Elysium he was in space for a small amount of time, in Interstellar it was too long. But maybe in The Martian, Damon will find his “just right” amount of space time. You know, then he can go back to Earth and start doing political things again. Or Boston things. Or maybe, just maybe, fingers crossed, he can go back to voicing Bill the Krill.

Damon had a lot of time alone to reflect on his career while pretending to be on Mars.

Set somewhere in the future, NASA has successfully put people on Mars! Yay! We rock! Speaking of Rocks, there are a lot of them on Mars. And sometimes there are dangerous rock storms. When a particularly powerful storm begins to develop, Commander Lewis (Jessica Chastain) decides that they need to evacuate the planet. There is a chance their escape rocket could tip over and then they’d be stranded! During the storm though, Matt Watney (Damon), a space botanist, gets hit by some debris and goes flying. All of their suit flashy devices say that his suit has opened and he has to be dead.

So Lewis and the rest of the crew (Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie) escape Mars to begin their flight home a few weeks ahead of schedule.

But it turns out, against extreme odds, that Matt is actually alive. However, he is now stranded. The mission only was supposed to last about 30 days, and they had made it to 17, so his rations aren’t that plentiful. He has a huge checklist of responsibilities suddenly that are all vital to his survival. He has to figure out how to grow his own food on a desert planet. He has to make sure his equipment doesn’t break, so he doesn’t run out of water or oxygen. He has to figure out a way to communicate with NASA. And of course, he has to figure out how to get himself home. Even though Matt wants to survive, he openly acknowledges his impending doom and realizes that almost everything he does is just prolonging his most likely catastrophic death.

Eventually, obviously, he isn’t 100% alone. Or else it would be an impossibility. Back on Earth, thanks to satellites, they are able to eventually note the differences of the site and realize he must be alive and kicking. This is where I can sneak in all the rest of the actors.

Who is involved in the mission to get him back? Well, of course, the Head of NASA (Jeff Daniels), a different head of NASA type guy (Chiwetel Ejiofor), head of the Mars program (Sean Bean), head…engineer…of the shuttle? (Benedict Wong), an Astrodynamics guy (Donald Glover), head of NASA PR (Kristen Wiig), and Mindy Park (Mackenzie Davis) who controls a satellite. Or something.

This unfortunate scene reminded me too much of Fantastic Four and now I am undergoing PTSD.

Ridley Scott has been not putting his best foot forward recently. Exodus: Gods and Kings and The Counselor were terrible, and Prometheus had a lot of issues. So I have to go into every new movie of his with a bit of a hesitation.

Thankfully, Scott did not disappoint this time and knocked The Martian out of the park.

The absolute best part of the film is its attention to detail and scientific accuracy. I don’t know how hardcore they went into it, but I will be checking Neil Gegrasse Tyson’s twitter to see if the stars on mars were at least accurate. But everything else is so damn sound and smart. I almost stood up in the middle of the movie to chant U-S-A and show off my Science Boner. That is a bit graphic, but the metaphor is necessary to emphasis how sexy it all was. It isn’t dumbed down and they just go full on smart people talk on the viewer.

After the science, we have to talk about the Damon. Damon plays what has to be the greatest Botanist ever on the silver screen. I don’t know how praise worthy that statement actually is. The writers made him smart, charming, witty and a guy with a morbid sense of humor. He tells jokes to logs where he notes everything he is doing, with the caveat that it probably won’t matter since he will most likely die. And he even got to say “Fuck” twice in the film, despite the PG-13 Rating!

Basically everyone in the cast was great in their roles. Even Stan, Mara, and Hennie, the crew members who people don’t care much about. I want to give special shout outs to Glover, who had a small role but was extremely convincing, and Wong, who was an important side character who for some reason didn’t even make the IMDB credit list.

The film is of course also visually wonderful. Mars, the future Houston space center, outer space, all of it is great. I don’t think 3D added much to the film, and it should be a good experience without it. It isn’t as necessary as Gravity.

Despite how much I liked the film, it only has one issue. There is a sort of epilogue after the events, so you can find out what happened to characters. It seemed off to me. It was also a bit sudden of a tone shift. The previous scene I was almost at the point of tears (You don’t get to know if from happiness or sadness, sorry), but they ended it too quickly for all the emotions to rile up in me. And the last few minutes were just…meh.

Oh well, 99% of a film is still pretty damn awesome.

4 out of 4.


The Interstellar hype train is so hot right now, you could light a candle off of its ass. That might not make a lot of sense, but it sounds like something Matthew McConaughey could say really sweet in his voice, so I ran with it.

But seriously. Christopher Nolan is one of the more well liked directors today. The movie has had wonderful trailers. It has the capability of being as beautiful as last years Gravity, especially in an IMAX 3D setting.

But wait. Controversy! It turns out Nolan doesn’t like the fancy IMAX digital camera nonsense. No, that man likes himself good old fashioned film and filmed a lot of movie that way. Most filmmakers prefer digital cameras, as they are actually cheaper and easier to get 3D/CGI stuff with them. But a few others think that digital film making makes the movie lose a certain artistic touch.

So it turns out Nolan has released his film in two ways. In an actual film reel, which a lot of theaters have gone away with, and digitally. Not only can you watch the film in 35 MM like normal, but he also has a 70 MM version meant for IMAX screens. Nolan wanted that reel touch to his movie, given some of the themes in it, so I can tell you the movie version I watched was film. Just didn’t get to see the film IMAX version.

Space People
Enough talk about specifications, let’s talk about space people!

This film is set in the future, where things are not looking so great. The Earth has gotten kind of pissy with the wastefulness of its citizens. Tech went too hard too fast and well, a lot of people died. Now most of their crops don’t work due to diseases, all they have left is corn.

In fact, some tech people are now looked down in disdain. They don’t need fighter pilots, they need farmers and mostly farmers. So NASA has been working in secret, looking for other planets to move to, because Earth kind of sucks. And it has been going poorly. But thanks to worm holes and higher tech, they have 3 planets to check out. They just need a sweet ass pilot.

Oh hey, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey). Now a good farmer, used to be a pilot and all, before the tech haters happened. And well, he is the only guy for the job. He is just going to be gone for a few years, not a high chance of survival, not a high chance of success either. Kind of intense odds. But he has to. But does he?

He does, after all, have family. A son and daughter (Mackenzie Foy, yes she is more important than brother enough to tag). Can he leave them behind? Or can he help save humanity?

Also starring a lot of people! Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, David Gyasi, and John Lithgow.

Oh sweet, and they go surfing. Every movie needs a surfing scene.

Intestellar, if anything, is definitely a visionary achievement. The scope is grand and intense with this movie. It is about 2 hours and 45 minutes long, leaving a lot of room for plot, exploration, and some hopefully good acting.

And there is some good acting! From McConaughey. And from Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain. And uhh. After that it seems to get a bit muddled from what I can tell. Because unfortunately, I had some issues with Interstellar too.

Without going into big details, the last 25 or 30 percent of the movie felt rushed, despite the long run time. The ending was full of explanations, almost pounding your head in the wall to make sure you understood things instead of letting the movie tell the story naturally. Some extremely awkwardly acted moments came out of no where. One conflict scene came near the end seemingly out of nowhere on Earth. A character died in the laziest and most “wat? really?” way possible.

Just a bunch of minor things that ruined a little bit this very very excellent film.

Now, these are the type of minor things that one can probably normally ignore, but only in that I saw so many of them, it just made it a bigger issue. It is a beautiful film, and probably even prettier in IMAX. It tackles some complex subjects in the science field and has nice allusions to the Dust Bowl. It was certainly entertaining. It just wasn’t perfect film for me.

3 out of 4.

The Monuments Men

Finally, it is February, which means theaters are allowed to show good new movies again! Both The Monuments Men and The Lego Movie are out the same weekend, which adds some credit to the theory that studios literally wait to release their movies right outside of January, to separate themselves from the junk.

This movie in particular has an all-star cast, directed by George Clooney (his fifth overall), and a World War II story. Yeah, it has a lot going for them.

Typical rag tag group of men to save the day.

The Monuments Men tells the true story of a group of seven men, mostly art historians, curators, and museum directors, who join up with the Allied forces to preserve culture and art that might be destroyed during World War II. Most of these men are old, or out of shape, but they believe in their goal, and convinced the men in charge to let them help.

They were brought together by Frank Stokes (George Clooney), who had the idea after they almost lost The Last Supper when the UK bombed a city. His hand picked team included James Granger (Matt Damon), a painter, Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), an architect, Walter Garfield (John Goodman), a sculptor, Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban), a historian. They also have Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville) and Jean Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin), a British officer and a French man, for culture purposes. They are later joined by Sam Epstein (Dimitri Leonidas), a German translator.

These men split up around the war front from 1943-1945 searching for lost and stolen treasures. The Germans hid the art in their country and intended to destroy them should Hitler be killed. They also are racing against the Russians, who have lost so many men in the war that any stolen art they find they will steal right back and keep for themselves as a sort of reparations.

Also starring Cate Blanchett, as a very convincing French art curator, who really enjoys a nice painting. Like. A lot.

Murray Giant
Bill Murray looks like a fucking giant in this movie.

Well drat. Turns out, The Monuments Men ended up being the antithesis to That Awkward Moment. If you remember, That Awkward Moment looked bad, but turned out to be decent.

Clooney took an interesting piece of history, put in great actors, and gave us a mediocre movie overall. It is incredibly disappointing that this movie wasn’t amazing, but I have to make sure my review still accurately reflects the overall quality, and not just say it is bad because I am feeling betrayed.

This movie did surprise me in a few ways. One, I saw Murray give a real and convincing cry, which I definitely did not see coming. I don’t think I have ever seen that man cry, it was heartfelt, and I almost teared up as well. Two, I did learn about some famous art pieces in Europe, and it is awesome how close they came to being destroyed/lost forever. Three, there isn’t a number three.

All of the funny moments made it into the trailer, leaving not a lot more for the movie. That is incredibly disappointing, as it was advertised a comedy, with not a lot of laughs. The rest of the movie was slower and more dramatic, but most of the times I didn’t really care enough about the individual characters to care what was happening to them.

The Monuments Men will be forgotten with time. It was a decently acted movie, certainly not bottom of the barrel in terms of quality, it just didn’t have a lot more going on for it.


2 out of 4.

Behind the Candelabra

Fuck, another movie that I had for months, and waited for the DVD release, like a noob.

It is a shame, when HBO released Behind The Candelabra, I heard nothing but good things. I mean, it is a biography about Liberace! Not that I know really anything about him, as he died before I existed. I just knew he was a flamboyant man, and was part of a joke in Austin Powers. So the good news, I am going to learn a lot about a famous person, and get that much closer to being a master of pop culture.

Good, I have at least one potential benefit.

Alternatively, this might just be two hours of butt sex.

The movie begins in 1977, where Liberace (Michael Douglas) is already world famous and the biggest act in Las Vegas. What did he do? He entertained, in almost every fashion. He was great at piano, could tell a story, and was very flamboyant/extravagant. But oh no, he wasn’t gay, never say that. He would sue you. [Plot twist, later in real life, it was found out to be true.]

This is kind of about that story. But also the story of Scott Thorson (Matt Damon). Who is he? Well in 1977, he was only 17, an animal trainer, and wanted to be a vet. He was a bisexual man who happened to see Liberace in Vegas and get to meet with him backstage. Liberace liked him. He hired him to be an assistant.

Assistant apparently means young supple boy lover!

Aw yeah true love.

Unfortunately, this story is about the last ten years of Liberace’s life, so really, I don’t want to say too more, minus the obvious ending. It was great to see Rob Lowe in a small role as a plastic surgeon, and Dan Aykroyd did not look like Dan Aykroyd, he looked like a younger Elliott Gould.

Sex, a hidden lifestyle, AIDS, jealousy, plastic surgery, dollar dollar bills, drug addiction, and traveling the world. What a crazy last ten years or a man to live.

Robble Lowlele
Oh yeah, Rob Lowe didn’t look like Rob Lowe either.

Man, Liberace is really good with his fingers. I mean for piano reasons. Big talent. Huge ego. No, I don’t know what I am doing right now.

A man with such a big personality you would think lives an interesting life. Well, fuck yes he does. A lot of cool and bizarre shit. If the movie is true. It is based on the autobiography of Scott Thorson, after Liberace died. Why? Because Liberace fucking had a clause with everyone that made it so if they ever said he was gay, he could sue them, and would claim it is a lie. Even going so far to release his own biography, making up fake women loves of his life, just to appeal to the masses.

It is a strange an interesting story, one that felt like it left a lot out unfortunately. My biggest complaint. A lot is missing, it goes a bit fast, makes big jumps.

But you know what was the most amazing aspect? The acting by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in this movie. Douglas was so into that character, I believed completely that he was Liberace. It was really fucking outstanding, and something I haven’t seen from Douglas in some time. Matt Damon still looked a little bit like Matt Damon, but he too really embraced this role, holding nothing back. I mean it. Nothing. Held. Back.

He didn’t pull a 1993 Will Smith in Six Degrees of Separation. Sorry, maybe one other person will get that reference.

These two were really fucking great at their roles. You should watch it for that reason. I just hoped there was a lot more biography in the film is all.

3 out of 4.


In 2009, Neill Blomkamp changed the world.

Okay, that is an exaggeration. But he did release the movie District 9, a beautiful, very detailed, sci-fi movie, with great acting, plot, and messages associated with it. More importantly, it was his first major film as a director and it was an independent movie. That’s right, they found out they could make big epics without breaking the bank at the same time.

This is why four years later, most people are excited about Elysium and wondering if it can repeat his earlier success.

Elysium Itself
I’d want to live there too. Shit’s dope, even if the Earth was fine.
In the year 2154, Earth is left in shambles. Not from an alien attack or war or mole people. No, from just straight up over population, pollution, and an ever growing lower class. To fix this issue, the rich people decided…to leave Earth completely! They made a giant spaceship habitat to orbit Earth (called Elysium!), to live out their lives in luxury. They got everything there, green grass, fine dining, and of course the ability to heal any ailment, disease, or virus. Aw yeah.

On Earth,people are dying from these diseases a, the high costs and a strict robotic police force. It is hard not to be a criminal. Like Max (Matt Damon). Sure he used to be a criminal, but now he wants to earn money the right way. Too bad the man ain’t letting him get on his feet! In fact, at work, he gets bombarded with a lethal dose of radiation, leaving him with only five days left to live! So they fire his butt, and leave him in his misery.

Yeah. Max really needs to get to Elysium.

A man with five days left to live will go through a heck of a lot to try and survive. Even if it involves attaching a permanent exo skeleton power suit to his body, kidnapping the CEO of the company that fired him (William Fichtner), and teaming up with members of his old criminal team (Wagner Moura). It would also be nice if he could bring his lady friend Frey (Alice Braga) and her daughter with them to Elysium.

It won’t be a cakewalk either. He has to deal with the Elysium head of security (Jodie Foster) and a sociopathic sleeper agent (Sharlto Copley) who will stop at nothing to bring him to “justice.” Poor Max. Why couldn’t you just be born rich?

I wonder if in 2154 they have classified at what constitutes a cyborg. Officially.
The best sci-fi films have always been those that offer great social commentary. Actually, I’d say that most sci-fi films and stories offer some form of social commentary. What better way to “secretly” criticize government or policies than by setting it hundreds of years in the future?

This one really isn’t even that subtle about it. Basically it takes the rich getting richer to extremes, along with some elements of overpopulation and immigration.

Sometimes films can feel a bit too preachy, but this one does a good job of providing enough entertainment at the same time for it to be acceptable. Most of the film I’d describe as “action light.” There are only really two action scenes: a robbery, and the ending, which is exciting enough to make up for the slower parts of the film.

Strangely, I think the films main issue comes with not making everything clear enough. No one likes to be spoon fed, but they could definitely fleshed out more details to enrich the world, and answer some more questions. The dialogue of the film could have also been better. Jodie Foster’s character felt underused to me, which might have been on purpose.

But overall these points are pretty minor. It was a really well done story, and Sharlto Copley was fantastic in it. Probably the best acted character in Elysium. His character was so exciting and vivid, I almost had a hard time cheering for Matt Damon at the end. I think we can all agree that we need more Sharlto Copley in our movies.


3 out of 4.

Promised Land

Promised Land, on first glance, looks like your typical Oscar Bait movie at the end of the year. After all, it had a super limited release on December 28, but didn’t get widespread release until January. In addition to that, you can tell right off the back it has a high chance of being a super liberal movie with a clear message. We’re talking George Clooney amounts of liberal here. Oh well, maybe it will be subtle about the whole thing?


Steve Butler (Maaaatt Damonnnn) is a closer for a natural gas company. Along with his partner, Sue (Frances McDormand), his job is to go into a community and buy the mining rights on property from the farm owners. They get a set price per acre, and a fraction of the profit they gain, while getting to keep their land for farming. Pretty sweet deal.

Heck, Steve came from a farming community himself in Iowa (what what). But once a local plant went under, the community died, their town crumbled and all was lost. He is providing these communities a safety net, and he is good at it too. But what happens when shit start to hit the fan?

A lot of negative talk about fracking in the news, and now everyone has google, so it is hard to tell who is telling the truth about the risks and why. Steve accidentally lets the community hold a vote on fracking, thanks to a persistent science teacher (Hal Holbrook). Because of that opening, all of the sudden there is an environmental group in town, trying to persuade voters just the same (John Krasinski).

Will Steve lose his mind trying to help the small town? Can he get the girl (Rosemarie DeWitt)? Why does Rob (Titus Welliver, aka The Man In Black from Lost) sell Guns, Groceries, and Guitars?

Do you really not know how this thing will end?

For a movie about fracking, this film took the strange route of not really ever talking about fracking. Heck, Damon’s character is a self claimed not expert on the science, he just buys property and answers questions. They made his character not perfect, not the best speaker if he is nervous (or hungover) to give it a nice realism, but also to make it a crutch. I guess they wanted to make him look like a puppet to the man in the grand scheme of things.

The anti-fracking side doesn’t do much in the use of actual science to defer the town either, both sides using specific tactics to get people trust them. Does that mean this is a fair and balanced movie on the subject? Heck no, and you shouldn’t expect it either. There was a big surprise near the end, but not the ending itself. Everything I expected to happen, did happen. But the surprise I both loved and hated. It was an interesting way to take the movie as a drama, but I hated it because it felt like a cop out and a grossly inaccurate portrayal of real life, which was great up to that point.

I am almost certain this movie won’t go anywhere in terms of awards, was just a meh movie by the end of it. Come on Matt, I expected better of you!

2 out of 4.


This movie Margaret (which has no character with that name, but taken from a poem) has had a shit storm of post processing nightmares. I think the filming of this film took place somewhere between 2005-2006. Yeah, way back in another lifetime almost.

It was originally scheduled to come out in 2007, but the version of the film the director wanted was about three hours long. What! Studio wasn’t having that, said 150 minutes max. So a lot more editing, a lot more saying “it can’t be done!” Then some lawsuits were issued in 2009. This film was going to take awhile to come out, damn it. Eventually it was put to 150 minutes exactly, with the help of other people. The longer version can be seen on the DVD which comes out nowish, but uhh, I wanted to see the 150 version instead.

All of that is interesting, since this movie is about a long law suit as well.

Lisa (Anna Paquin) is just a girl, either senior in high school or freshman in college. One of the two. Legal is the important point. Still lives at home with her mom though, so a local college if that is the case. She is more or less normal, has some favorite teachers, like Mr. Aaron (Mattttt Damonnnn) who teaches math. Debates in some psychology/politics class.

Well one day she just misses a bus, but runs after it anyways, She is at the door, but the driver (Mark Ruffalo) doesn’t care, even almost makes fun of her. Waving his cowboy hat around. Well this causes him to not pay attention to the road, where he ends up running a red light and slamming over a random woman (Allison Janney). Leg, totally off.

So Lisa and a crowd get to gather around, try to make it so she doesn’t die before an ambulance gets there. Doesn’t happen. Nope, she has a woman freak out and die in her arms, and she is partially to blame. This phases her pretty damn hard. But while giving her testimony, she looks at the driver, and thinks they have a “mutual look” to cover it up, and she says the light wasn’t red from her memory.

Well that guilt tears at her. She becomes more sexually active (than before of not at all) with her classmates (Kieran Culkin) and maybe her teacher. She gets more angry in her debates about terrorism. She tries to reach out to the driver, who isn’t having any of it, saying her recollection of the story is wrong, and doesn’t know why she’d “lie” in the first place.

This makes her mad, so she wants to change her testimony, which is a big problem. Wants to go to court, finds someone who can actually press charges, and part of the reason is just to get the guy fired. Not looking for money (she wouldn’t get any anyways, the family would, who doesn’t know this is even going on). But lots of factors get in her way, which doesn’t help her anger, or help get the justice she feels is necessary.

We also have Matthew Broderick as a small role as a teacher, and Michael Ealy as a legal friend to give advice on all the shenanigans.

Post accidental cause of bus accident syndrome face.

I really cannot imagine a longer version of this movie. Either even more angst and lashing out fight scenes, even more negotiations with a lawyer while trying not to get screwed over, or they took out another subplot entirely and left the others in tact. Who knows. I am pretty sure I won’t try to watch the longer version ever.

I will say yes, Anna Paquin acted pretty great in the movie. I loved the emotion and confusion her character conveyed. But I think they had way too much going on, and a lot of it I didn’t care for.
So well done Anna.

Ruffalo was decent too. But all this movie really teaches us is that life sucks, and then sucks a bit more.

2 out of 4.