Fri, Oct 02, 2015 - Page 10 News List

Movie releases

Compiled by Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

The Martian

High hopes are in order for the latest film by Ridley Scott, who has brought us beloved classics such as Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise and Alien while staying relevant with recent hits (or not) such as Prometheus. The Martian stars Matt Damon as an astronaut who is presumed to be dead and left behind on Mars by his crew. He must find a way to survive while ground control debates on whether to rescue him or not. So what makes this film stand out from other survival movies such as fellow space epic Gravity and last week’s Everest? For one, critics say that this film is actually quite humorous, though falling on the darker side (dude hates disco yet it’s his only source of entertainment, making the perfect excuse for a 70s-themed soundtrack). They also say that it gives plenty of narrative to mission control back home and his crewmates, avoiding the one-person monologue often seen in films where someone is trapped somewhere. We also hear that Damon is quite spectacular.

A Most Violent Year

This crime epic has been out in the US since 2014, but is only premiering in Taiwan this weekend. Its title refers to 1981, which is statistically the deadliest year in the city’s history up to that point with more than 120,000 reported robberies and 2,166 murders. The story follows a first-generation immigrant (Al Pacino, wait, no, Oscar Isaac) and his Brooklyn mafia daughter wife (Jessica Chastain) who fight to protect their American Dream and expand their heating oil business while dealing with corruption and mob violence. Isaac’s character is faced with raising cash while under investigation for fraud while his company trucks keep getting attacked by an unknown source. Determined to succeed, the film follows the protagonist slowly plunging deeper and deeper into midst of things and doing what he needs to do, whether he likes it or not.

Absolutely Anything

Let’s take a moment of silence, as this is the late Robin Williams’ last film — OK, he doesn’t actually appear in it, he provides the voiceover for the protagonist’s talking dog. It’s also Terry Jones’ (of Monty Python fame) first directorial feature in 20 years, and features all living Monty Python cast members. The film is based on a pretty weak premise, however, with a group of aliens bestowing upon an unhappy schoolteacher the power to do, well, absolutely anything, just to test his moral compass. If he succeeds, he joins their council, if he fails, they destroy Earth. It’s really hard to see how anything original or interesting can be made out of such a tired plot, even with the combined funny firepower of Monty Python and Williams involved. Unfortunately, most critics seem to agree.

Cooties

What happens when you try to combine the disturbing psychological horror of Saw with the cheesy, happy teeny-bopper dramedy of Glee? This zombie comedy is literally the answer, as it is a collaboration between their respective creators. The film takes place in a town called Fort Chicken where the children are turned into the living dead after ingesting, uh, infected chicken nuggets. Elijah Wood plays the teacher who, instead of developing his students’ minds, needs to keep his brains from being eaten. Critics say the unlikely pairing actually works, resulting in a ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek product that’s not really scary, pretty funny, pretty gross and pretty entertaining if you aren’t offended by adults bashing their way through hordes of brain-hungry children.

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