This week at the movies, we’ve got a stranded spaceman (The Martian, starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain) and a disconcerted FBI agent (Sicario, starring Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro). What do the critics have to say?
Ridley Scott made his name with Alien and Blade Runner, two of sci-fi cinema’s most cultishly adored — and endlessly pondered — classics. Critics say The Martian finds Scott examining more hopeful territory, and the result is an awe-inspiring adventure that explores vast ideas while staying grounded in very human emotional territory. While investigating the surface of Mars, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is caught up in a violent storm and presumed dead by his departing crewmates. Utilizing whatever he has on hand, Mark must attempt to survive until NASA can figure out a way to bring him home. The pundits say the Certified Fresh The Martian is visually stunning, scientifically credible, and immensely likable, thanks in large part to Damon’s funny, touching performance.
As the old showbiz saying goes, if you want to send a message, call Western Union. Critics say Sicario takes a different tack; it’s a white-knuckle action picture with outstanding performances that doubles as a blistering critique of the war on drugs. Emily Blunt stars as a tough, no-nonsense FBI agent who joins a Federal task force charged with taking on the drug cartels. Our heroine soon discovers that the team leader and his mysterious partner may have a hidden agenda. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Sicario is breathlessly tense and terrifically acted by Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio Del Toro, and it offers further proof that Denis Villeneuve is one of contemporary cinema’s most distinctive directors.
What’s Hot on TV
Too tasteless for mainstream viewers and too silly for horror enthusiasts, Scream Queens fails to satisfy.
Somebody please get Dr. Ken a doctor; seeking any signs of life. Or humor.
Also Opening This Week In Limited Release
- The Creeping Garden (2014) , a documentary about slime mold and its devotees, is at 100 percent.
- Sherpa (2015) , a documentary about the tragic deaths of a number of local guides over the course of a single climbing season, is at 100 percent.
- Jafar Panahi's Taxi (2015) , in which the renegade Iranian director films conversations with his compatriots while posing as a cabbie in Tehran, is at 92 percent.
- Robert Zemeckis‘ The Walk (2015) , starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ben Kingsley in a fictional account of Philippe Petit’s illegal tightrope walk between the Twin Towers in 1974, is at 88 percent.
- Northern Soul (2014) , a drama set within the R&B crazed music scene of 1970s England, is at 79 percent.
- Labyrinth of Lies (2014) , a drama about an attorney whose investigation into the crimes of a former concentration camp guard are met with public indifference, is at 79 percent.
- He Named Me Malala (2015) ,a documentary about education activist and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, is at 72 percent.
- This Changes Everything (2015) , a globe-trotting documentary that examines the varied effects of climate change, is at 63 percent.
- Partisan (2015) , starring Vincent Cassel in a thriller about a child who rebels against the charismatic commune leader who taught him to be a killer, is at 62 percent.
- Freeheld (2015) , starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in a drama about a woman who is stymied by community officials from receiving the government pension bequeathed to her by her long-term partner, is at 54 percent.
- Narcopolis (2014) , a sci-fi noir about a drug cop who stumbles across both a vast corporate conspiracy and a purported time traveler, is at 33 percent.
- Addicted to Fresno (2015) , starring Judy Greer and Aubrey Plaza in a comedy about two sisters working as hotel maids who cover up an accidental crime, is at 25 percent.
- Shanghai (2010) , starring John Cusack and Chow Yun-Fat in a period spy drama about an American who stumbles upon a conspiracy in Japanese-occupied China, is at 6 percent.