Review: Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Teaches Us To Never Doubt the Knowledge of a Botanist

Films about space exploration and mishaps in the farthest regions of the galaxy have become a bit of a trend in Hollywood lately. Some of the today’s most acclaimed directors such as Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Christopher Nolan (Interstellar), and Duncan Jones (Moon) have taken a crack at the genre, so it was only a matter of time before Ridley Scott (Alien) himself gave it a shot. With The Martian, Scott takes a break from the usual science fiction extraterrestrial films he’s known for, and tackles a much more grounded and realistic space adventure story. The result is a captivating film that sports a cast who bring their characters to life, along with a story that is packed in suspense and never offers a dull moment.

The film follows the crew of the Ares III; a team of astronauts who are ready to set back home after their mission to mars. But just prior to leaving, a storm hits leading the crew to believe that one of their members; botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon), was killed during the storm. It isn’t until once the Ares III has departed that it is revealed Watney did in fact survive the storm, and has now been left alone to fend for himself on the deserted planet of Mars.
Every time there is a film that follows a person on their own or stranded in a place without any other humans, there’s always a risk that film’s narrative me be boring or not captivating enough for the audience. There’s also a tremendous amount of pressure on whatever actor is playing the title role, as they have to practically carry most of the film on their own. In The Martian’s case, that responsibility falls onto Matt Damon, along with screenwriter Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods). Both Damon and Goddard do a fantastic job at making Watney into an entertaining and relatable character whose eyes we are able to see the film’s events through.
While it may have seemed like the film was going to be two hours of Matt Damon alone on Mars, Scott keeps the audience’s attention but constantly cutting back to what is taking place back on Earth. Watney may be the most developed character in the film, but several other supporting players get their time to shine, and are portrayed fantastically by some familiar faces. Standouts include Jeff Daniels (Newsroom) as the NASA director, Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) as the man in charge of the Mars mission, and Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings) as a fellow head employee for NASA. Every character introduced in the film serves a purpose, and adds something extra to the flow of the film’s story. The dialogue between these characters was especially impressive, with some witty remarks reminiscent of that of Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network).
But the real stars of the show here are the crew of the Ares III themselves, who all really provide the emotional anchor of the film. While a majority of the film is seen through Watney’s eyes as we experience his emotions, seeing the psychological effects of leaving a crewmember through his fellow astronauts adds an entirely new layer to the film. Michael Pena, Jessica Chastain, and Kate Mara specifically stand out, and share some great scenes alongside each other. Although it would’ve be nice to have had more screen time between these characters and Watney himself prior to them leaving, we’re giving a good idea of their personalities and what their relationships with Watney were like through some great dialogue scenes.
The soundtrack of the film was another surprising standout, and really helped give the film its own identity. The film’s score is definitely a lot more lighthearted than expected for a film about a guy left alone on Mars. This actually suits the movie well, and is a great reflection of Watney’s optimism throughout the story. There is also a great amount of 70s music in the throughout, which is a running gag in film. Those who are fans of disco music will really enjoy it, while those who aren’t will feel Watney’s pain.

In this day and age where space adventure films are a dime a dozen, and each film is trying to reach a further region of space than the last, The Martian is a breathe of fresh air. Everything about the film from its visuals and its beautiful use of colors, the avoidance of clich├ęs, down to the spectacular cast that was assembled all really help it stand out from its predecessors in the genre. The Martian is a return to form for Ridley Scott, as well as another brilliantly acted film led by Matt Damon himself, and is sure to be a contender for an Oscar in visual effects next year. Those who are looking for a grounded space film that isn’t named Star Wars or Star Trek should look no further than this brilliant take on the future of human space travel. 
I give The Martian 4 out of 5 stars:
So have you see The Martian? What did you think of it? Let us know below!

Fan-Cast: Samurai Jack

 
If you grew up in the early 2000s, chances are the name Samurai Jack will ring a bell to you, as it was one of the most popular and advanced cartoons of its time. But like many cartoons, the show didn't get to complete the narrative it wanted to tell, and that has led to a lot of speculation about the show either returning or getting a feature length film in theaters. Given how amazing the story told in the show is, I personally think it'd be great to see it adapted into live action. So below I've put together some of my own suggestions for a big screen adaption of the Cartoon Network series Samurai Jack.

Joe Taslim (Raid Redemption) as Samurai Jack
The Raid Redemption film,showcased a number of actors that can handle a series of physically demanding and coordinated moves. Joe Taslim would be perfect to handle the physical roles of Jack, and with a battle between him and Aku, Taslim would definitely be able to portray a  huge battle between Jack and Aku.

George Takei as Aku
George Takei could give us the slightly menacing and comical Aku in a live action Samurai  Jack  film. Aku isn't necessarily sinister, but more of a powerful figure in which acknowledges the fact that he has power and feels as though no one has the potential to beat him....except Jack.

Christoph Waltz (Django: Unchained) as The Scotsman
First coming in contact with Jack on the Bridge the Scotsman is a comical figure that could be considered a bad mother shut your mouth. Christoph waltz could portray the Scotsman perfectly. A runner up for the role suggested by Mr. Doughnut (a fancast genius) is Gerard Butler, yet his comedic aspect seems to lack in some areas and he isn't the A-list actor you want portraying a figure in your film all the time.

Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine) as Shinobi Shadow Warrior
Only reason why he wasn't chosen as Jack was because the story almost demands for a younger more believable Jack.. Only thing that Joes Taslim really has on Will Yun Lee is the age factor, but  Lee is still a great figure to have within the movie.

Mark Luu,  Lance Luu, Charles Luu (Pacific Rim) as the Three Blind Archers
Another artistic piece from the Samurai Jack run is the three blind archers. Being that they are a play on with the three blind mice. Each one lacks vision, but there acute sense of hearing can pin point any form of movement. Being that it is rare to find triplet acotrs Mark, Lance, and Charles are perfect for the roles .

Directed by Gareth Evans (The Raid Redemption)
Gareth Evans is by far one of my favorite directors. Not only is he young but he can let his action sequences do the talking for him. Being that Samurai Jack is a artistic form and aims primarily to give you that dose of action that you rarely see on the big screen, Gareth Evans is probably the top choice to take on this film

Cinematography by Larry Fong (Watchmen) 
300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch, I mean he is a amazing visual aspect of the film world. Taking on the Batman Vs. Superman project can be a way to show you how big he is starting to become in the industry. He would be perfect as a director of photography.


 Music by Pharrell Williams (Despicable Me) and Daft Punk (Tron: Legacy)
Samurai Jack depends heavily on a variety of music ranging from traditional Japanese all the way to upbeat techno. Daft Punk is legendary in the music world and they literally transformed the perception of Tron: Legacy with the soundtrack. This musical combination for Samurai Jack could be the next best thing since peanut butter and Jelly.


So how do you feel about this Samurai Jack fancast? Do you feel like someone should be added to the cast that hasn't already been mentioned? Leave your Comments Below!

New 'Spider-Man' Rumors Include Possible Involvement Of Russo Brothers, Drew Goddard, And Dylan O'Brien

For some, the fact that we're getting yet another Spider-Man reboot still hasn't quite sunken in. Yet the reality that the days of Andrew Garfield and Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man series are over have hit quick, especially with the constant buzz already surrounding the next set of Marvel Studios' produced Spidey films. We've been hearing all types of rumors, ranging from which actor will portray the titular hero, as well as what director will helm the next solo film, and of course what other Marvel films will the new wallcrawler be showing up in. New reports have suggested that Drew Goddard and the Russo brothers may both be up to direct the upcoming film, as well as giving away new details about the solo film, and Dylan O'Brien has finally come out and spoken about the possibility of him playing Spidey himself.

First up are several new details and rumors that hit the web courtesy of Latino-Review's own Kellvin Chavez. The report suggests that director Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods) is Sony's choice to both write and direct the upcoming 2017 Spider-Man solo film. This doesn't come as much of a surprise considering Goddard's recent involvement with Marvel, having been the original show runner for the upcoming Daredevil TV show before dropping out, and going on to be Sony's choice for the seemingly canceled Sinister Six film. That being said, other sites including THR and The Wrap have followed up and the story, and claim that the job isn't Goddard's yet, and that he's is really just the frontrunner at the moment and has yet to meet with the studio.
This would make sense, especially considering the recent news that Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo have inked a deal to work for Sony. This is of course especially interesting with the Russo's currently working on the film that will introduce the new Spider-Man (Civil War), and the duo is thought to be the favorites to direct Infinty Wars Parts 1 and 2 for Marvel. The Sony leaked emails revealed the companies desire to get the Russos involved with many of their developing franchises, specifically Spider-Man, so it seems highly likely that the two will be involved with the upcoming series to some degree. Although its unknown whether they are up to direct the film (Especially if these rumors of Goddard's involvement are true) it seems more likely that they'll actually be serving as producers for the solo film. 
Latino-Review's scoop as revealed that the studio is looking to name the upcoming film Spectacular Spider-Man, and it may in fact still feature the Sinister Six team of super villains. They also reveal that the first film will see Spider-Man fighting Iron Man in order to pass the test to join The Avengers. They also suggest Sony wants to go with an unknown actual high school age Peter Parker, and are hoping to have the actor group up along with the character over the span of multiple trilogies in the same way the Harry Potter series did it. This seemingly would debunk the rumors that have been circulating on Reddit that actor Dylan O'Brien (The Maze Runner) has already been cast in the role of Spider-Man. The actor himself has come out and debunked the rumors that he has spoken to the studio about the role, but has expressed his interest if the opportunity were to arise.
So how do you feel about Sony's rumored plans for the upcoming reboot? Would you prefer to see Drew Goddard, the Russo brothers, or another director tackle the project? Are you still hoping Dylan O'Brien may play the role? Let us know below!

'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Star Kodi-Smit McPhee Joins The Cast Of 'X-Men: Apocalypse' As Nightcrawler

I guess we can thank director Bryan Singer for keeping us from going through the nuisance of the whole "rumored shortlist of actors" process and just straight up telling us who he's casting in his upcoming film X-Men: Apocalypse. The director himself has revealed a new addition to the ever growing cast of mutants, following the recent announcement of who would be portraying the young Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Storm in the film just a few weeks ago. Following that major bit of casting news, it seemed like Singer's roster was finally complete. Or was it? While we hadn't even heard that a young Nightcrawler would be featured in the film, its now been made quite apparent by Singer himself that we can expect to see him show up, with young star Kodi Smit-McPhee (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) set to take on the role.

The announcement from Singer does in fact come as a bit of a shock, especially since the cast for the film seemed to have already been completed. We've known for some time now that X-Men: Apocalypse would be following the team of mutants at some point in the 1980s, following the events in the 1970s timeline of last year's X-Men: Days of Future Past. Both Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy were givens to return as Magneto and Professor X, where as Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult would also be returning as the younger counterparts of Mystique and Beast. The film will also include the newly cast Gambit (Played by Channing Tatum), and of course the return of Days of Future Past fan favorite Quicksilver (Evan Peters) in an expanded role. 
Having said that, unlike X-Men: First Class and Days of Future Past, Apocalypse will be featuring many more of the teams most well known members. Its been a long time coming that a young Cyclops, Jean, and Storm would be joining the already impressive cast of young X-Men that has been put together, so the additions of Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, and Alexandra Shipp is those respective roles were no-brainers. As for McPhee's Nightcrawler, who too is one of the most recognized characters in X-Men lore, who made a memorable appearance in X-Men: United where he was played by actor Alan Cumming. 
McPhee fits in just about the same age range as Sheridan, Turner, and Shipp, so it should be expected that Xavier recruited the mutants to join the team all around the same time. This more or less resembles the line-up of the original First Class comics, with Storm and Nightcrawler serving as stand ins for Angel and Iceman (Whose characters in the X-Men series are much to young to show up in the 1980s timeline). Having said that its still unknown how important Nightcrawler will actually be to the storyline, especially with the cast and roster of characters already being so full. We can only hope he serves a bigger role than Toad (Evan Jonigkeit) did in Days of Future Past. It also would be interesting to see if Singer choses to explore the idea of Mystique being Nightcrawler's mother like in the comics, although it seems highly unlikely with the McPhee and Lawrence's close proximity in age. 
So are you happy that will get to see the return of Nightcrawler in X-Men: Apocalypse? Do you think Kodi-Smit McPhee was the right choice for the role? Sound off below!

Marvel And Sony Reach A Deal That Will See A New 'Spider-Man' Finally Join The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Yes, you read that headline right. After several leaked Sony emails revealed the many possibilities the studio was considering for the future of their Spider-Man series, it seems the studio has finally agreed on a scenario the feel is the most suitable. And the good news is, this time it isn't just a rumor, Marvel has announced that Spider-Man will officially be a part of their new cinematic universe. But of course it isn't as simple as that, as the deal will actually still see Sony retain the rights to the character and his upcoming solo films, yet this Spider-Man will be featured in future Marvel Studios films. For better or wore, this does in fact mean the end of The Amazing Spider-Man series, and the involvement of director Marc Webb and any of the cast; including lead actor Andrew Garfield. 

The news comes courtesy of Marvel themselves, who revealed that both company's have worked out a deal that will see the wallcrawler show up in future Marvel Studios' films, along with giving them some creative input into the future Spider-Man films (With Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige producing the films). This apparently means we'll be getting yet another completely new take on Spider-Man, with a new actor set to take up the mantle, a casting decision that has already gained some speculation. This indefinitely means that TASM lead star Andrew Garfield is out, after rumors suggested Sony did everything in their power to have him return, yet a fresh new take was ultimately what both studios felt was best. Director Marc Webb will also no longer be involved with the films, leaving a vacancy for an all new director to take the helm of the new reboot.
The new Spider-Man will apparently be making his first appearance in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, the highly anticipated sequel that will be adapting the famed comic book storyline. Spider-Man himself plays a key role in the comic book storyline, so it isn't too surprising that he'll be introduced in this film, although its unknown if he'll be playing a role equivalent to that of the comics. Back when the film was originally announced, Marvel made no mention of Spider-Man and instead announced the inclusion of famed comic book character Black Panther who will be played by Chadwick Boseman (42). It was initially believed that Black Panther would be filling in for Spider-Man's role in the film, serving as the hero caught between Iron Man and Captain America sides. Many fans are worried that Marvel's sudden accusation of Spidey will diminish Panther's role in the film, especially considering the fact that the latter's solo film was pushed back a year to make room for the new Spider-Man film in 2017.
As I stated above, the rumor mill is already a buzz over who will be playing our new Spider-Man. There's also been a lot of talk as to whether Marvel will chose to use Peter Parker or Miles Morales as the man behind the mask, but judging by the press release Parker seems the more likely. Variety has brought about some new detail regarding the approach Sony and Marvel are going for with the new Spidey, once again aiming for a high school aged version of the character, and having Midtown High School serve as a major location throughout the film. Two names that Variety mentions that both studios' are considering for the role are Teen Wolf and The Maze Runner star Dylan O'Brien, and Perks of Being a Wallflower and Fury's Logan Lerman. Both actors have been fan favorites for the part, and Lerman was coincidentally considered for the part back when casting commenced for The Amazing Spider-Man. There's sure to be many more names thrown around as we await an official announcement, so we'll keep you updated on those rumors throughout the coming months.
So how do you feel about Spider-Man finally showing up in the MCU? Are you sad or happy that The Amazing Spider-Man series is over? Who would you like to see play our new Spider-Man? Sound off below!

'X-Men: Apocalypse' Casts Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, and Alexandra Shipp As Jean Grey, Cyclops, And Storm

For a movie that's coming out next summer, there hasn't been too much buzz around Bryan Singer's X-Men: Apocalypse recently. That's a sharp contrast from all the buzz its predecessor Days of Future Past had been getting at this stage in its production. Since the big reveal that Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: Episode VII) would be taking on the role of Apocalypse himself, we haven't heard much about the film aside from a few casting rumors. Well now Singer has taken to his Twitter to put those rumors to rest, and has confirmed which talented young actors will be portraying the younger version of key X-Men members Cyclops/Scott Summers, Jean Grey, and Storm. 

We've known for quite sometime now that those three roles were the key parts Singer and company would have to select for the film. Similar to how X-Men: First Class took place in the 1960s, and Days of Future Past in the 70s, its been confirmed that Apocalypse will be following the Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) led team throughout the 80s. We know for a fact that actors Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Evan Peters (Quicksilver), and McAvoy would all be returning. Channing Tatum will also be joining the group as famed X-Men member Gambit.
All of the choices Singer has decided to go with seem to fit the criteria of the younger versions of the characters they'll be playing, with Cyclops having originally been played by James Marsden, Jean by Famke Janssen, and Storm by Halle Berry. Tye Sheridan is certainly the standout of the group, with his past works having been indie films (Mud and Joe) where he held his own against A-list stars. He was actually one of my top choices to play Spider-Man if the Marvel Studios' reboot were to happen, so I guess I'm gonna have to cross him off my wishlist for that part. Sheridan was reportedly able to beat out British actors  Jamie Blackley (If I Stay) and Taron Edgerton (Kingsmen: The Secret Service) for the part.
Similarly, actress Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) was able to beat out some formidable competition herself. It was rumored that actresses Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass), Saoirse Ronan (Hanna), and Elle Fanning (Maleficent) were all up for the part. Of all them Turner seemed to most passable as a young Famke Janssen, and it helps that she already has the redhead look going for her. As for Alexandra Shipp, her casting has probably been the one that most fans have been skeptical about. While the race for the role was just down to her and former Disney Channel actress Zendaya, Shipp always seemed like the deadringer for a younger version of Halle Berry's Storm. Unfortunately Shipp's only past well known performance was in Lifetime's Aaliyah biopic, which was universally panned. We can only hope that film wasn't a proper display of Shipp's talent, and she'll be able to bring much more to the role of Storm once X-Men: Apocalypse rolls into theaters.
So how do you feel about the choices Singer has decided to go with? Were there any other young actors you would've preferred in the roles? Let us know below!