The Walk

ratings4

The Walk tells the fascinating true story of French acrobat Philippe Petit, who in 1974 hung a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and walked on it.

Since after Forrest Gump, my favorite drama movie, was released and stole the Oscars that year, not many of Robert Zemeckis’ films have been appreciated and recognized as being his (with exceptions like Cast Away and Flight). The Walk is hopefully a return for him. A visual spectacle with a fascinating topic, The Walk delivers a fantastic storyline, lots told through constant narration from an extraordinary protagonist (like in Forrest Gump). Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers his best performance yet as the daring French artist, nailing a French accent and perfectly capturing the heart and soul of Petit. He captures every single emotion of the character terrifically and really transforms into the role. Knowing the movie is a true story makes you think more about the movie and the person Petit is. The supporting actors including Ben Kingsley are also great, but the spotlight always seems to be pointed on Gordon-Levitt, never pulling our interest away from him, but we are often wishing a few characters were a bit more developed.

The score by Alan Silvestri, who has frequently collaborated with Zemeckis on features like Back to the Future and Forrest Gump, is once again a wonderful score, brilliant, beautiful in many aspects, and soothing to listen to. The visual effects are, of course, flawless, and absolutely amazing to look at, with the Twin Towers being shown with amazing CGI, and although some details are obviously CGI, they are still very well done, which is a great accomplishment because obvious CGI is often irritating in modern cinema. Robert Zemeckis is a master of visual effects, having perfected them in every movie he has directed. Although the film ended up focusing more on the plot than the visual beauty, it still gives enough times for the visuals to shine. The plot is always sweet, heartfelt, and has entertaining narration from Gordon-Levitt’s Petit. It focuses on Petit’s life, love, associates, and especially his daring dream and soul. It is able to entertain, touch our hearts, and bring the setting to life, while being able to avoid overused biopic cliches such as closing title cards.

The climax of the film, in which Petit finally walks the wire, is the most well-put together, compelling movie scene of the year. With such thrills and 3D effects, you are pulled from your seat to the wire with Petit. In that final 20 minutes, you can feel your heart pounding as you watch this incredible moment in history brought to life in front of you.

The Walk is entertaining, touching, visually incredible, fantastically directed and acted, and easily one of the best films of the year, and one greatest 3D experiences of the decade, following the footsteps of Gravity and Hugo.

The Walk (2015 film) poster.jpg

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Sicario

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Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), an idealistic FBI agent, is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.

Denis Villeneuve, the director of 2013’s Prisoners, has returned to the director’s seat with another thrilling and powerful flick. Sicario was often marketed as just another action flick with nothing more than cliche gunshots and explosions, but with a director like Villeneuve, I knew that wasn’t what Sicario would ultimately be. Instead, Sicario is thrilling, heart-pounding, powerful, fantastically acted, and beautifully shot. Emily Blunt delivers a strong female performance, probably the best of her career. I have never seen her as such a deep, driven character, and she portrays her role with lots of emotion and fear that feels real. Benicio del Toro’s performance felt very mysterious and dark, which I liked. Josh Brolin is also great, as a fun, laid-back character.

The movie’s cinematography stands out in such an amazing way. Roger Deakins shoots every single shot of this movie with such brilliance and detail. There are some simply breathtaking shots, whether they are large scale shots of a warring Mexico, or shots through night vision goggles of geared-up FBI agents traveling through dark tunnels. Some of these night shots are made terrifying with the effects of the sound and angle at which they are shot. This movie’s cinematography is the best of the year, and definitely deserves an Oscar.

Although not much besides the action happens within the first half of the film, it is often thrilling, and even when there is only the slightest amount of tension, it can be very suspenseful. By the time I was at the final half of the movie, my heart was pounding from all the suspense. The suspense builds up, and is ended in a perfect way. The movie’s ending sums up the film perfectly, and didn’t need to go any further. The movie has some pessimistic themes about the US/Mexico border’s danger, but conveys it in a very realistic way that makes you pulled in even more to the film’s setting and characters.

Sicario is a very powerful and thrilling film, and another strong picture from Denis Villeneuve. With a strong theme, excellent cinematography, and great performances, Sicario has thrilled me like no other film this year, and is a definite watch for ages 15 and up.

Sicario poster.jpg

The Martian

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During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

The Martian, like other recent space films such as Gravity and Interstellar, manages to exceed expectations and bring in tons of fun, character, and suspense. Although the marketing may have made it loom to similar to Gravity and Interstellar, it differs vastly with its plot, setting, tone, and overall theme. Matt Damon is excellent in the lead role. He is very charming, funny, and determined to survive. He is written very well, and when the stakes are very high and you know he might not survive, you are brought to high suspense. Jessica Chastain, like always, is badass and powerful in her role. Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Sean Bean are also great as a few NASA operatives down on Earth. Everyone else, including Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, and Michael Pena are great as some Ares 3 crew members.

The directing by Ridley Scott is perfect. Ridley Scott is one of my favorite directors, and has directed some of my favortie movies (including Gladiator), but lately hasn’t been at his best, considering how terrible Robin Hood (2010) and Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) were. The Martian is a fantastic return for him, and allowed me to regain my faith in his contemporary work, and films of his that are yet to come. Scott focuses the film exactly where it should be (mainly Watney’s survival attempts on Mars, and NASA/the Ares 3 crew’s attempts to rescue him) when it is supposed to be focused on that aspect of the plot. Although the film is nearly 2 and a half hours, the length feels perfect and stretched well. The movie, unlike other recent space films, focuses much less on the visual effects and more on the plot, which in this case is done terrifically, but the visuals are still beautiful when you look at them. The film’s plot is thrilling, exciting, and always entertaining, never dragging or feeling rushed. The writing is great, as it constantly includes tons of humor, and doesn’t take itself too seriously at times. By the climax of the film, I was so thrilled and on the edge of my seat, and when the movie was over, I had a smile on my face because of how fun and awesome this movie was.

The Martian is a great return for Ridley Scott, with fantastic performances, directing, writing, visuals, cinematography, story, and suspense. The Martian is the best movie I have seen all year, is a definite must-see for ages 12-13 and up, and will leave you thrilled, and on the edge of your seat.

The Martian film poster.jpg

Please check out my YouTube channel!

I have recently put up a YouTube channel for which I will be posting videos about movies. For example, I’ll be talking about movies I’ve seen, one’s I’m awaiting, top 10 movie lists, and much more! Check out my first two videos below:

Here is the link to my channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSV89b28SYNKbmAk5PCDtZA

I hope you enjoy watching my videos, and stay tuned for more on my channel in the future!