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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Martian and Sicario: October must see movies

Since we find ourselves in the middle of October, we can expect some great movies coming our way as Oscar season comes full swing. This past weekend was no exception, as “The Martian” and “Sicario” both opened and were universally praised, both standing at over 93 percent out of 100 on Rotten Tomatoes(or they were the last time I checked)

The Martian

It’s been quite a while since Ridley Scott has been able to please both critics and audiences. With his most recent critically panned movies including “The Counselor”, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”, and “Robin Hood,” to name a few. Movies with some critical praise like Prometheus, met with a lot of frustration (mixed with confusion) from fans of the Alien series. So it seemed like the great director of “Gladiator,” “Alien” and “Blade Runner” lost his touch somewhere along the way.

Thankfully, “The Martian” finds Scott with a great return to form. It seems he  remembered his sci fi roots and discovered how to make a great movie again. His signature world building is completely absorbing, making you feel like you’re trapped on Mars alongside Matt Damon and making you root for this marooned astronaut as he struggles to stay alive on Mars, all the while trying to make his way back to Earth. It even led Lou Lumenick from the New York Post to state it’s “The best thing that either Matt Damon and director Ridley Scott have done in years.” 

Damon is spectacular in his role, he’s charming and optimistic, making you cheer for him each step along the way, hoping with each moment that he’ll be able to make his way home. While his super optimistic sense of humor may be jarring at the beginning, given his predicament, once it lands in a groove it’s very easy to root for him, often giving that “Wow, he actually did it!” feeling when he accomplishes something seemingly impossible. 

The rest of the cast is also terrific. With Jessica Chastain leading her crew as they return to Mars to rescue the crew mate they accidentally abandoned. You find them full of remorse and their chemistry with each other, along with their quick wit and smart mouths make them enjoyable to follow through space on their mission. The same sentiment goes for the people at NASA, including David Oyelowo, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig and several others as they try to solve how to best communicate and rescue their stranded astronaut.

This is definitely a movie that needs to be seen,so don’t let a fear of deep space or intimidation of a lot of science talk keep you away, “The Martian” is entertaining from beginning to end and has a finale that gives even 2013’s “Gravity” a run for its money.The film was so inspiring to Peter Debruge from Variety, that it lead him to say “‘The Martian’ should do more than just make Fox a ton of money; it could conceivably rekindle interest in the space program and inspire a new generation of future astronauts.”


When “Prisoner’s” came out  in  2013, I was blown away by how intense of a thriller it turned out to be. When I found out the same director, Denis Villeneuve, would be following it up with Sicario, a story about a young F.B.I. agent thrown into a task force whose job is to kill a cartel leader, which also starred Emily Blunt, I couldn’t have been more excited.

From the trailer, my expectations were raised higher, seeing that Villeneuve planned to bring all the elements that made “Prisoner’s” such a great film. Including: strong, interesting characters, an eerie setting and a tense atmosphere to his new project. So with a high amount of anticipation, I went into the movie.

For the most part, I thought “Sicario” was incredible. From the very beginning when Emily Blunt and her team raid a drug house to find the bodies of the cartel’s victims hidden in the walls, I knew I was in for a genuinely intense and horrifying experience. With an abundance of visceral, violent action sequences, an eerie score and amazing camerawork throughout, I felt like I was watching one of the best movies I’d see this year.

My main problems with the movie were with some of the characters and how their stories played out. I love Emily Blunt. Not only is she a great actress but she has a certain charisma that lets her play a tough character without seeming like she’s trying too hard. She plays the part well, but I had a problem with how her character was used. Throughout the movie, she, and the audience is kept in the dark of the real intentions of her supervisors and team members (Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro) and argues with them constantly about their ever increasing corrupt methods of getting closer to the cartel leaders. Blunt is seen as an observer to the story unfolding before her, never really achieving much, and by the end when you find out the real intentions of the team leaders, you see that her character was mostly used  to overstep a few laws and allow Del Toro’s character to get closer to the cartel leaders for revenge . It’s disappointing, seeing as I expected her to be the hero of the movie. Ultimately, this was the movie’s intention. Showing how a moral person can be taken advantage of  even if it’s for the greater good,  does not make a difficult situation  easier to swallow.

Despite the problem with Blunt’s character, I really enjoyed this movie. Villeneuve creates a horrifying world in his film. From aerial views of Mexico showing our outnumbered team in a dangerous place, to small cramped areas like the drug house at the beginning, everything has a claustrophobic and dangerous feel to it, which keeps the tension up at all times. Aiding it is an unnerving script by Tye Sheridian, a creepy score by Johann Johannsson, and amazing camera work by Roger Deakins. This adds up to an eerie and emotionally draining experience throughout. Leaving Matt Pejko from Matt’s movie reviews to state “Sicario is a film that will unnerve you and then stick with you long after the credits roll…”

If you’re a fan of well made thrillers or you want to see a movie that feels like a “Breaking Bad” fever dream, this is the movie for you.

Bottom line, both of these movies are fantastic and should not be missed. Especially with all the Oscar buzz surrounding them. You will not want to feel left out when they’re being brought back up during the awards season. 

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The Martian and Sicario: October must see movies