Monday, October 19, 2015
Sunday Funday: Double Feature Movie Review - The Martian (2015) and Crimson Peak (2015)
In just over the course of a week, I went to the movie theater twice. This is pretty unusual for me, but what can I say except that there are some pretty great movies being released right now. I saw The Martian on the evening of Thursday, October 8th and Crimson Peak in the early afternoon on Saturday, October 17th. Both films, while completely different (although both star Jessica Chastain), were excellent.
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If you didn't already know, I absolutely adored the novel by Andy Weir. Seriously, if you haven't read it yet, you're really missing out. Even if you don't generally like sci-fi, I still highly recommend you take a look at it based on the strength of the leading character alone. Usually, I prefer the book to the movie adaptation, but that's not always the case (see The Scorch Trials). In this particular case, though, I think I loved the movie as much as the book. It follows the book pretty closely and visually the movie is stunning. However, it's the strength of the cast that really makes the movie stand out.
Mark Watney is portrayed onscreen by Matt Damon. I don't have a particular reason, but I've always felt indifferent to Damon as an actor, so when he was cast I wasn't sure what to think, but I still hoped he would do the character justice. As it turns out, he's great as Watney and pulls off what is, to a degree, a one man show. The supporting cast is also pretty fantastic with Jessica Chastain as Commander Lewis, Jeff Daniels as Teddy Sanders, and Sean Bean as Mitch Henderson. By the way, I was really pleased the whole Project Elrond bit made into the movie! On that note, the sense of humor played out well in the movie. It's balanced evenly with other more serious aspects.
Originally, I hoped to see this film in 3D, but unfortunately the movie theater changed their entire schedule at the last minute, so I had to watch the regular presentation if I wanted to see it that day. Like I said before, it's visually stunning, but I fully expect it would have been even more so in 3D. There were approximately 26 others seeing the same showing and for the most part everyone appeared to enjoy it from beginning to end. I even managed get one of the best seats to enjoy my viewing experience with my pack of Swedish Fish and Cherry Coke. Overall, I had a great time watching an expertly made film.
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Yesterday afternoon, I saw the first showing of Crimson Peak. Surprisingly, there were only two others seeing the movie at the same time, but on the bright side I got the best seat in the house. For me, this movie happened to be one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year that's not a sequel or based on a book. Before I go any farther, I'd also like to say that I wouldn't quite classify this as Gothic Horror. It's more a Gothic Romance with supernatural elements - and it is to die for.
First, the cast is excellent. Mia Wasikowska is excellent as our strong leading lady, Edith Cushing. She is an aspiring writer who dreams of being as well regarded as Mary Shelley. I don't want to give away too much in regards to her character's journey but it's impressive. I was glad to see that she's in control and is really able to take the lead in a genre that doesn't often let that happen with female characters. Our other main and just as important female character is Lucille, played by Jessica Chastain. As much as I liked Edith, Lucille is the one you'll really want to keep your eyes on. For the guys, Tom Hiddleston portrays Thomas Sharpe, Lucille's brother and Edith's new husband. Hiddleston is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I first took note of him when he was in the first two seasons of Wallander with Kenneth Branagh and he's definitely a talented actor to watch. While I also liked Charlie Hunnam as Alan and Burn Gorman as Holly, I was especially pleased to see Jim Beaver (Bobby!) as Carter Cushing, Edith's father. To keep it short, the movie is well acted and each cast member gives their respective roles everything they have.
I also can't talk about this film without discussing how beautiful and visually stunning it is in so many ways. The costuming alone is enough to make the movie. I'm not usually as interested in movie costuming as I was in here. I really focused on it in this movie because they're all beautifully detailed and they really compliment the settings and the characters themselves. Also visually stunning is Allerdale Hall, the ancestral home of the Sharpe family. Seeing it all onscreen at once is impressive and it just oozes atmosphere. If there ever was a place that was haunted, it would be Allerdale Hall.
Overall, I was very pleased with this film. It was everything I could have hoped for with a brilliant cast, excellent cinematography, and atmosphere to spare. I'd even say it's on par with classic Gothic Romance and Horror films. If you like House of Usher (1960), Rebecca (1940), and The Woman in Black (2012), you'll probably enjoy Crimson Peak as well.