Star & Crescent film reviewer Zach Lockwood provides an exclusive guide to this week’s screenings at No. 6 cinema.
Thursday, 5th November: Listen To Me Marlon
With exclusive access to his hitherto private personal archive, including hundreds of hours of audio recorded over the course of his life, this is the definitive Marlon Brando documentary. It charts the On the Waterfront and Godfather star’s exceptional career and his extraordinary life away from stage and screen. Brando himself is our guide, recordings of his voice over the years taking us through the full complexities of the man. This his story, in his words and voice. No talking heads, no interviewees, just Brando on Brando and life.
Listen to Me Marlon is a brand new release to No 6 this week and I’ll be watching it for the first time on the night. I can’t give you a rating before I’ve seen it myself, but any examination of one of the most notorious Hollywood screen actors deserves your £8.
Friday, 6th November: The Martian
Following on from his dismal attempt at a biblical epic in Exodus: God Among Kings, Ridley Scott has decided to adapt a very different book, Andy Weir’s The Martian. A slew of more recent failures (Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood, Prometheus, The Counselor and Exodus) have tarnished the director’s early masterpieces (Blade Runner, Alien, Thelma and Louise). But is the latest Scott film a rebound or another addition to a growing repertoire of rubbish?
Mark Watney is stranded on the red planet with no means of contact and a depleting supply of food, water and oxygen. To survive he applies his botanist’s skills to create an indoor potato farm and uses the wreckage of previous Mars missions to try and make contact with NASA. After his lean late period, The Martian proves once again that Ridley Scott is a fantastic director. Scott has taken a leaf out of Christopher Nolan’s Inception here: trust the public to keep up with a challenging narrative and complex theories, and they will come in their thousands.
That said, this is not a film entirely without flaws. Its highly touted cast affects the plot, drawing out the film and making many of Damon’s ‘staring into Mars’ sequences rather dull. Worse than this, you never really get a sense that Watney is in danger. In complete contrast to Sandra Bullock’s character in Gravity, the audience does not worry that Watney won’t eventually escape the red planet.
Overall, though, The Martian is intelligent, funny, engrossing and a joy to watch – for that I applaud it.
Zach’s rating: 7/10
Saturday, 7th November: A Walk In The Woods
The adaptation of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods finally graces our screens, being a pet project of Robert Redford’s since 2004 – back when he was the correct age to play Bill Bryson, and Paul Newman was due to play the role of Stephen Katz. Instead we now have the grunting Nick Nolte accompanying the intrepid travel writer across the Appalachian mountains.
If you want to go to the cinema just to be entertained, you’ll like this film. Lots of people aren’t looking for the next Nolan-esque mind-bender or a plot twist that would put M. Night Shyamalan to shame. With A Walk in the Woods, you can just sit back and watch Robert Redford and Emma Thompson shine. Yes, Nick Nolte’s ever groaning voice does become tiresome but everything else on screen does well to counterbalance that.
My one criticism: unlike the book, the film is not especially funny: I counted at least six good laughs. Humour or lack thereof aside, it’s still a pleasure to watch the beautiful scenery of Pennsylvania. A Walk in the Woods is an undemanding yet pleasant way to spend two hours sat down in a dark room.