Tag Archives: Matt Damon

The Last Duel (2021) Review

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The Last Duel

Time:  153 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence, sex scenes, offensive language, rape & cruelty
Cast:
Matt Damon as Sir Jean de Carrouges
Adam Driver as Jacques Le Gris
Jodie Comer as Marguerite de Carrouges
Ben Affleck as Count Pierre d’Alençon
Director: Ridley Scott

Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) is a respected knight known for his bravery and skill on the battlefield. Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) is a squire whose intelligence and eloquence makes him one of the most admired nobles in court. When Le Gris viciously assaults Carrouges’ wife (Jodie Comer), she steps forward to accuse her attacker, an act of bravery and defiance that puts her life in jeopardy. The ensuing trial by combat, a gruelling duel to the death, places the fate of all three in God’s hands.

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The Last Duel was a movie I was looking forward to. It’s a medieval drama directed by Ridley Scott, and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon would be involved with writing the script (their first writing collaboration since Good Will Hunting) along with being some of the main actors alongside Adam Driver and Jodie Comer. The only issue going in was the premise of the movie, and it seemed like it could be completely mishandled, especially with the topic of rape being front and centre. It was a lot better than I was expecting, and I’d even consider The Last Duel to be one of my favourite movies of the year.

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The writing from Nicole Holofcener, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck is great. First of all, the plot structure of the script is worth mentioning. This movie has been compared to Rashomon for good reason, we see much of the events of the plot from three different perspectives. The first segment follows Jean (Matt Damon), and for me this was the weakest segment. In all fairness it did have a lot working against it. It felt awkward as it’s the first perspective we see, it is setting up and establishing a lot of characters and the setting, it’s a bit slow, and it’s not as interesting as the other sections. I do feel that it would probably improve on rewatches, but then again, most people who watch this movie won’t be particularly inclined to watch it again. It’s when you get onto the second segment following Jacques (Adam Driver) where it really picks up, as it adds more layers to the events and overall story. It’s at that point that you realise that some of the events in that segment differ from Jean’s perspective, some subtle, some major, whether it be the performances or the dialogue, and it’s cleverly done. The second and third segments also sometimes repeat scenes but its usually to show the differences, and as a result they are much better paced and more interesting. However what makes the movie work is the third segment, following the perspective of Marguerite (Jodie Comer). That’s the section where everything comes together. First of all, I like how they establish that Comer’s perspective isn’t just her perspective, but also the absolute truth of what happened. It’s by far the most emotional and impactful segment of the film. Everything becomes clear, it displays the pride and the ego of the two duellists, and shows everything that Marguerite had to go through., The Last Duel is about rape, sexual assault and misogyny, and that by itself makes it a hard movie to watch (and you do see a rape scene in the second and third perspectives), but for what it’s worth, I thought that these tough subject matters was handled carefully. Despite building towards it the whole film, the titular duel is not portrayed as a glorious battle, in the context it is shown as two men really battling over their pride and egos. This movie is long at 2 hours and 30 minutes, and I thought that it earns its long runtime and uses it very well.

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The acting is great, and everyone does well at playing their parts. First and foremost, this is Jodie Comer’s movie. It might not feel that way at first in the first two segments. However when it gets to her segment, she is incredible and delivers a really powerful performance. Matt Damon and Adam Driver play the two duellists. Out of the main 4 actors, Damon is probably the weakest and most out of place in the film, but I still think he was good (questionable accent aside). Adam Driver is great as always and was very convincing in his part. A scene stealer is surprisingly a blonde Ben Affleck in a supporting role as a count. He’s really funny and memorable and injects a lot of humour into this movie in his screentime.

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Ridley Scott directs this film really well but that’s to be expected, it’s certainly strong on a technical level. The cinematography is beautiful and fitting for the tone of the movie. I was particularly impressed with the editing, mainly with how they portrayed the repeated events from different perspectives. The production design and costumes are effective and authentic, placing you right in the time period. There are battle scenes outside of the whole final duel which they are excellently brutal and grimy, probably the most graphic battle scenes that Scott has ever done. However its clear that most of these are only there long enough to establish that the battles happen, with most of them lasting 1-2 minutes. When it does come to the final battle, it is truly tense, brutal and fantastically done. From the choreography to the camerawork, it ends the film on a really high note. The music from Harry Gregson-Williams is also solid, really fitting the movie.

THE LAST DUEL

An amazing, dark, brutal and uncomfortable medieval drama, The Last Duel was way better than I thought it would be. The script is great with an effective narrative structure, it is directed incredibly well, and features some outstanding performances, especially from Jodie Comer. It is definitely not an easy movie to watch by any means, and isn’t one of Scott’s most rewatchable movies. However, it is great and along with it being one of 2021’s best, I think I consider it to be one of Ridley Scott’s all-time best films. It’s unfortunate that it seems to be bombing at the box office, I do really think it is worth checking out if you haven’t already.

Ford v Ferrari (2019) Review

Time: 152 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby
Christian Bale as Ken Miles
Jon Bernthal as Lee Iacocca
Caitriona Balfe as Mollie Miles
Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II
Josh Lucas as Leo Beebe
Noah Jupe as Peter Miles
Remo Girone as Enzo Ferrari
Ray McKinnon as Phil Remington
Director: James Mangold

American automotive designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Co. Together, they plan to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

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Ford v Ferrari was one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. With director James Mangold (Logan, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) helming this and with a cast that included Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Jon Bernthal and more, there was a lot of talented people involved. With that said, I wasn’t necessarily interesting in racing or race cars, so I wasn’t hyped because of the premise, but I was still interested for the talent involved in it. I actually liked this movie a lot more than I thought I would, what could’ve been a standard racing biopic is elevated immensely by the direction and the acting.

Just to preface this review, I’m not really interested in cars or racing or anything like that, nor did I have any prior knowledge of the real life events. Thankfully it’s still reasonably accessible to those people like me, you can still follow along with what’s going on without being too bored or confused. The first half of the movie is the whole creative process, and I think most of us can be interested in that if it’s handled well, whether fully understand everything that’s going on or not. The last third act for the most part is a massive racing sequence, and it’s quite a rewarding experience. In many ways, Ford v Ferrari is a standard biopic, and at times it definitely feels like it. However it was injected with quite a bit of humanity. While I’m aware that a lot of biopics also have those manufactured emotional moments placed to make the audience care a little bit about the characters, I think Ford v Ferrari does just enough for it to elevate it above most similar movies. Ford v Ferrari is rather long, it’s 2 hours and 30 minutes in fact. While the pacing is generally good and faster than you’d think it would be, I still feel like it could’ve been a little shorter. The early portions are fine but after the initial setup, that’s when the movie really picks up. A very small gripe but we don’t exactly get a sense about how much time has passed. We are told that they have 90 days to build the car but the way the movie progresses, it feels like it didn’t take more than a month.

The performances are really good, and Ford v Ferrari has quite a talented cast. Matt Damon and Christian Bale are great, and they share some convincing onscreen chemistry together. Bale particularly is great, and a real scene stealer throughout. You have some solid work from the supporting cast as well. Jon Bernthal is really good here, he’s a prominent supporting character, and thankfully gets far more screentime than he receives in most of his movies where he’d usually get up to 10 minutes max. Other actors like Josh Lucas and Tracy Letts also play their roles well.

So I said earlier about how Ford v Ferrari is really a standard biopic at its core, however a big reason why it worked so well was James Mangold’s direction. The movie is basically perfect for what it’s trying to be on a technical level. It’s a good looking movie, and they captured the time period and setting really well. And that’s even before I talk about the racing scenes, which you can probably tell are among the highlights of the movie. The racing scenes are engaging, tense and really gripping, it’s very well filmed and it really allows you to see everything and never becomes confusing. It seems that very little CGI was used. This movie cost just under $100 million and you can definitely feel it throughout, they seemed to have utilised that very well. The score by Marco Beltrami does well to helps raise the tension even further.

Ford v Ferrari may not reinvent the genre and you can probably guess 95% of the plot beats or the structure, but I can’t deny that I still had a good time watching it. What made it stand out so much was the performances (especially from Damon and Bale), but also James Mangold, who gives such humanity and energy to what could’ve just been a mediocre biopic at best, and making it something great. If you’re just looking for a racing movie with a bunch of racing tense driving scenes, the whole movie isn’t won’t be like that, but you’ll definitely get your fix here. If you’re like me and aren’t particularly interested in cars or racing, I’d still say that you can get invested in the movie and it’s well worth checking out.

Jason Bourne (2016) Review

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Jason Bourne

Time: 123 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Tommy Lee Jones as Robert Dewey
Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee
Vincent Cassel as The Asset
Julia Stiles as Nicolette “Nicky” Parsons
Riz Ahmed as Aaron Kalloor
Director: Paul Grengrass

It’s been 10 years since Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) walked away from the agency that trained him to become a deadly weapon. Hoping to draw him out of the shadows, CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) assigns hacker and counterinsurgency expert Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) to find him. Lee suspects that former operative Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) is also looking for him. As she begins tracking the duo, Bourne finds himself back in action battling a sinister network that utilizes terror and technology to maintain unchecked power.

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The Bourne trilogy is one of the best action franchises ever created. For this reason, I was looking forward to the 5th instalment to the franchise, named Jason Bourne, with director Paul Greengrass and main star Matt Damon returning, with a talented cast filled with actors like Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel. While some people are feeling mixed about the latest instalment, I think that Jason Bourne is yet another great addition to the franchise. It’s quite similar to the other films, it’s entertaining, interesting, it’s not perfect but it’s very enjoyable.

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Jason Bourne definitely has a similar formula to the other Bourne movies but there’s nothing wrong with that. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Bourne is on the run, trying to find out what’s going on, pretty much every Bourne film ever made. Plotwise don’t have many problems with the movie. One fault I will say though is that the film does at times focus on a subplot involving government oversight and security with Riz Ahmed’s character which really was unnecessary. It wasn’t bad but it felt a little out of place and there was already a good enough plot with Bourne hunting down the CIA. The film would’ve benefited a lot more without this subplot. In parts I’ll also say the film did drag a little, particularly the first act. Those are really my only problems though.

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Matt Damon is effortlessly great as Jason Bourne, this is his 5th time that he played the character and he’s just as believable and great in the role as he was decades ago in The Bourne Identity. The supporting cast was also great. Riz Ahmed was really good, even though I didn’t like his subplot in the story he did play his scenes very well. Alicia Vikander is a great actress and in this movie I thought she was decent, nothing spectacular but nothing bad either. The main opposing forces against Bourne were also great, that being Tommy Lee Jones who was really effective as the head of the CIA and Vincent Cassel, who was a standout for me as a ruthless assassin sent after Jason Bourne.

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If you don’t like the action in the previous Bourne films, you definitely won’t like the action here. It’s very similar to the previous films, handheld and shaky but once again like in the previous movies, it’s not used to hide bad stuntwork, you really believe what is going on. I liked all the action scenes in the film but a stand out scene for me was a car chase in Las Vegas in the third act, that was for me the best action scene in the film. I can’t really think of an action scene which didn’t work for me.

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I’m not exactly sure why this movie seemed to receive a mixed reception. I will admit that this movie isn’t really necessary, The Bourne Ultimatum tied up all the loose ends and so Jason Bourne didn’t need to exist. But with that said, it was a good film nonetheless. If you liked the other Bourne films, you will probably like this film as well at the very least. I actually do hope that they continue with more films, Paul Greengrass has given us 3 great Bourne films, I want to see more from him.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) Review

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The Bourne Ultimatum

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons
David Strathairn as Noah Vosen
Scott Glenn as Ezra Kramer
Paddy Considine as Simon Ross
Édgar Ramírez as Paz
Albert Finney as Dr. Albert Hirsch
Joan Allen as Pamela “Pam” Landy
Director: Paul Greengrass

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) continues his international quest to uncover his true identity. From Russia to Europe to northern Africa to the United States, he must stay one step ahead of those who would capture or kill him before he has a chance to discover the truth.

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The Bourne Ultimatum is quite possibly the best film of the Bourne franchise. Like with the other films of the trilogy they are quite similar, regarding the action, acting story, etc. However I personally feel like this is the strongest out of the films by a little bit, maybe it’s just my personal preference. Imagine if Bourne Supremacy if it was a full on action movie and the issues with the shaky cam in that film were dealt with. This third instalment makes the Bourne trilogy one of the best film trilogies.

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This film is quite similar to the previous Bourne movies. So chances are, if you didn’t like the previous Bourne movies, you won’t like this one. Whereas Bourne Identity is a mystery movie and Bourne Supremacy is a thriller, Bourne Ultimatum is the best action movie out of all of them. This movie’s pace is quite fast, and doesn’t slow down a lot, even the smaller character moments or moments of dialogue feel like they progress the plot, in a good way. There is no moment that feels unnecessary or wasted. There is no pointless romance thrown into the movie just because, even when Damon is paired with Julia Stiles, the film doesn’t waste time on any romance. Greengrass also did well to never drop the tension throughout the film. The conclusion was also great and satisfying, when we find out what happened with Jason Bourne and why and how he became an assassin.

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Matt Damon is once again excellent in the role of Jason Bourne. He continues to be believable as this assassin whether he’s in action scenes or the fewer smaller moments. The supporting cast also are great. In the previous film Joan Allen was trying to hunt down Bourne with Brian Cox, both with different reasons. Joan Allen returns to her same role in the movie, along with David Stratharin, who’s also trying to find Jason Bourne. Both of them are truly great in the movie. Other actors like Julia Stiles, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Edgar Ramirez and Albert Finney are also great in their roles.

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In the Bourne Supremacy, while for the most part the shaky cam was handled well, there were a couple scenes which weren’t handled the best. Greengrass doesn’t have any of those moments in Ultimatum. I can’t think of any moment in this film that didn’t work. As I said, this is the best action movie out of the three Bourne films. This has a wide variety of action scenes, there’s motorbike chases, foot chases, car chases, fight scenes, you name it. Speaking of fight scenes, there is a brutal fight between Jason and a character named Desh which is the best fight in the series yet and is one of the best scenes in the franchise yet. Greengrass massively improved the way he shot his fight scenes since Supremacy.

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The Bourne Ultimatum is truly a great Bourne movie, with its fast paced yet well filmed action, excellent acting from its talented cast and well told story. Even though as I said many times this is very similar to the other movies in the series, this might actually be my favourite film in the series. We’ll just have to see if Jason Bourne this year can top what they did with The Bourne Ultimatum. It won’t be an easy task though.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004) Review

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The Bourne Supremacy

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Franka Potente as Marie Helena Kreutz
Brian Cox as Ward Abbott
Julia Stiles as Nicolette “Nicky” Parsons
Karl Urban as Kirill
Gabriel Mann as Danny Zorn
Joan Allen as Pamela Landy
Director: Paul Greengrass

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is living in India when he is framed by Russian agent Kirill (Karl Urban) for the theft of millions from the CIA. Kirill begins to pursue Bourne, intending to assassinate him — but while Bourne and his girlfriend, Marie (Franka Potente), are on the run, a shot meant for him kills her instead. Vowing revenge, Bourne sets out to prove his innocence and bring the culprits to justice, but he has to evade CIA head Pamela Landry (Joan Allen), who is convinced he is guilty.

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The Bourne Identity was a big hit when it came out, and made Matt Damon a star. With The Bourne Supremacy, Liman is replaced by Greengrass. While some see Supremacy as an unnecessary sequel, I like it quite a bit, in fact I enjoy it slightly more than the previous film. The Bourne Supremacy is pretty much more of the same in Bourne Identity. The acting, writing and action is still quite great. It’s the direction and type of story that’s different.

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Again like with The Bourne Identity, you have to really pay attention to what is going on. There is a piece of Bourne’s past which he’s trying to remember, making it a little similar to the previous movie. However that’s only a small aspect in the story, the main part is that he’s being chased down, while he’s trying to find answers. Whereas Bourne Identity was a mystery movie, the Bourne Supremacy is a straight up thriller. As a result in some ways, this movie is easier to follow in comparison. I guess it depends which type of Bourne film you prefer, the mystery or the thriller.

Film Title: The Bourne Supremacy

Matt Damon returns and is just as great as he was in the previous film. There isn’t as much characterisation as in the previous film, but that wasn’t his purpose for this film, here he’s now the deadly assassin and really became Jason Bourne. Again like with the previous movie, most of the supporting actors like Brian Cox don’t particularly stand out but they are still good in their roles. They feel quite grounded in reality. The antagonising forces include Brian Cox and now Joan Allen. Both of their interactions and reasons for trying to hunt them down is much more interesting than in the previous film, as they have conflicting motivations. One supporting actor which does stand out, at least to me, is Karl Urban who plays a henchman, though I’m wondering whether that’s just because he’s Karl Urban. And Karl Urban is awesome.

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While the main level of quality of everything is at the same as in the previous movie, the movie is visually more interesting, in regards to the colour at least (I don’t know if that’s just me or what). The action is again like in the previous movie a bit shaky but is still well filmed. There are two times where it gets too shaky for its own good, one of them is early on in the first car chase, it kept cutting rapidly and the camerawork was really off. However after a while the action in that scene was filmed better. The second moment is a fight scene in the first half, it was done, quite frankly poorly but the rest of the action is done great by Greengrass. The stunts like in the previous film were done great as well, you feel like these people are actually there and in these action scenes.

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Having seen this movie, I think it’s about the same level of quality as The Bourne Identity. The action, acting, writing and all the elements are just as good. However I do still slightly prefer this movie over the previous film, certain elements of the direction I like a little more (personal preference). I do not think that this film should be dismissed, even if you consider it the lesser film in the trilogy, its’ still a very solid film, and should definitely be seen as soon as possible.

The Bourne Identity (2002) Review

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The Bourne Identity

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Franka Potente as Marie Helena Kreutz
Chris Cooper as Alexander Conklin
Clive Owen as The Professor
Brian Cox as Ward Abbott
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Nykwana Wombosi
Director: Doug Liman

The story of a man (Matt Damon), salvaged, near death, from the ocean by an Italian fishing boat. When he recuperates, the man suffers from total amnesia, without identity or background… except for a range of extraordinary talents in fighting, linguistic skills and self-defense that speak of a dangerous past. He sets out on a desperate search-assisted by the initially rebellious Marie (Franka Potente) – to discover who he really is, and why he’s being lethally pursued by assassins.

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The Bourne series is one of the most famous action franchises, and with the 5th instalment of the franchise coming reasonably soon, I decided to start to review the Bourne movies (maybe not Legacy). The first film, The Bourne Identity, is a pretty good and influential action film which spawned a successful franchise. While the other films are arguably better, The Bourne Identity is still a great action film, from its action to its complex and dense plot, it is a must see for action fans.

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The Bourne Identity is a movie that requires your full attention to understand what’s going on, if you don’t, you’ll be completely lost as to what is going on. However with that said, after a few viewings, it wasn’t as complicated as I remembered, it’s just that there’s a lot of details that you have to process. The plot itself is written quite well, and all the details and plotlines structured well. The film does have quite a good balance of intrigue and mystery as well as action and thrills. Now I will say with the exception of Jason Bourne, I did not find any of the characters interesting. They weren’t bad by any means, they just weren’t that memorable to me. That’s really one of the only major flaw that I could find with this movie.

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Matt Damon gives one of his greatest performances in the Bourne series. With this film, he proved that he was action worthy material. He manages to be absolutely believable as a trained assassin in the way that he carries himself, what helps is that there are many action scenes where you can clearly tell that he’s doing a lot of his own stunts. He really is the stand out of the movie. The rest of the cast consists of such talented actors like Chris Cooper and Brian Cox, who are good but none of them really stand out, to be fair though their characters aren’t really that interesting, so it’s not like they had much to work with. One actor who does leave an impression at least to me however is Clive Owen, he’s only in a few brief scenes but he gives off a presence and he was great with the little amount he was given.

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The one thing known about the cinematography of the action is that it’s quite shaky (a technique that director Paul Greengrass would continue in the sequels), however I thought that it’s done rather well. That’s because it’s obvious that it’s not done in order to hide bad choreography like a lot of action movies which use shaky cam today (and you can actually see what’s going on), it’s done to put us directly into the action and to make it feel more realistic. On that note, the stunts are great and made the action even more believable, the action sequences are the highlights of the movie.

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While in my opinion it’s not the best movie in the franchise, the Bourne Identity is still a great action movie in itself. The plot is complicated but interwoven well, Matt Damon really brought his A-game and is completely convincing as his character and the action especially makes this movie. Paul Greengrass gets a lot of credit for the Bourne movies but people should know that it was director Doug Liman who started this series off with a bang.

2016 Oscar Predictions

When you look at it in the grand scheme of things, movie awards really don’t matter. There are plenty of movies that should win but don’t, some of them don’t even get nominated, and there are some movies that don’t really deserve to win, but win anyway. So no matter what happens during the awards ceremony, it doesn’t really matter. But still, it’s fun to predict what movies will win and at the same time state what you think should win. Since everyone else is doing it, I decided to give my predictions for the 2016 Academy Awards. I have watched most of the films in the major categories but occasionally there’s a movie like The Hateful Eight which I can’t or just haven’t seen, so just keep that in mind.

* – Haven’t seen yet

BEST PICTURE

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The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room*
Spotlight

Will Win – The Revenant
Should Win – The Revenant
Should’ve Been Nominated – Carol

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Best Director

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Adam McKay – The Big Short
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson – Room*
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

Will Win – Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Should Win – George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should’ve Been Nominated – Todd Haynes – Carol

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BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

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Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Will Win – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Should Win – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

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BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

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Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room*
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years*
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Will Win – Brie Larson, Room
Should Win – Cate Blanchett, Carol
Should’ve Been Nominated – Rooney Mara, Carol (instead of being nominated for supporting)

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BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Will Win – Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Should Win – Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Should’ve Been Nominated – Benicio Del Toro, Sicario

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ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight*
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Will Win – Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Should Win – Rooney Mara, Carol

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BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Left to right: Steve Carell plays Mark Baum and Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett in The Big Short from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises

The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room*

Will Win – The Big Short
Should Win – The Big Short
Should’ve Been Nominated – Steve Jobs

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BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

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Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina*
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton*

Will Win – Spotlight
Should Win – Spotlight
Should’ve Been Nominated – The Hateful Eight*

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ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

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Anomalisa*
Boy and the World*
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie*
When Marnie Was There*

Will Win – Inside Out
Should Win – Inside Out

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BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Bridge of Spies – Thomas Newman
Carol – Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
Sicario – Johann Johannsson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – John Williams

Will Win – The Hateful Eight
Should Win – The Hateful Eight
Should’ve Been Nominated – Mad Max: Fury Road – Junkie XL

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BEST SOUND EDITING

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST SOUND MIXING

Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

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Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should’ve Been Nominated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

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Carol
The Hateful Eight*
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

Will Win – The Revenant
Should Win – The Revenant
Should’ve Been Nominated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

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Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared*
The Revenant

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST COSTUME DESIGN

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Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST FILM EDITING

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The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should’ve Been Nominated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

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Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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So what are your thoughts, what do you think will win, what do you think should win and what do you think should’ve been nominated? Comment below and let me know your predictions for 2016.

The Martian (2015) Review

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The Martian

Time: 144 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Mark Watney
Jessica Chastain as Melissa Lewis
Kristen Wiig as Annie Montrose
Jeff Daniels as Theodore “Teddy” Sanders
Michael Peña as Major Rick Martinez
Kate Mara as Beth Johanssen
Sean Bean as Mitch Henderson
Sebastian Stan as Dr. Chris Beck
Aksel Hennie as Dr. Alex Vogel
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Vincent Kapoor
Director: Ridley Scott

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) 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. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.

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I was interested in The Martian ever since I heard about it, mostly because of the cast, director and the praise about the book which I haven’t read. When it comes to director Ridley Scott, even though I liked Prometheus, most of his recent work hasn’t been that good (The Counsellor). The Martian is a return to form for him and it’s one of the best films of 2015. The Martian has excellent special effects, an interesting story and great acting from Matt Damon and the rest of the cast. After everything I’ve seen here, I want to check out the book.

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The film jumps between Mark Watney, the people on earth and Watney’s old crew who are now on a different mission. All of these stories I thought were well done but the most interesting and overall best one out of all of them is of course is the one involving Mark. One thing I liked about this movie is that it could’ve just been dark, gloomy and depressing but it’s actually kind of a funny movie. It also helps that Mark is quite a likable character, and we are on board with him as he tries to survive all of this. Also the fact that he is a competent character helped, which separated this movie from a lot of the other stranded survivor movies. I also don’t know if this film is scientifically accurate in the things that Mark does to stay alive but the film does make it all feel real, which is one of the highest praises I can give to a science fiction movie.

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Matt Damon is fantastic in this movie. In this sort of movie you need a lead actor who can hold so much of the story on his own and Damon does that and much more. Also like I said before, his character is very likable and it works to the film’s advantage as we are with him pretty much through the entire film. The supporting cast which consists of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Sean Bean and others add quite a lot to this movie. Every actor gets their chance to shine but it’s really Matt Damon’s show here.

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The special effects are excellent, The Martian overall is a beautiful looking movie. A lot of the environments on Mars looked so real. I might even go so far as to say that it was actually worth watching this movie in 3D, which is such a rare thing for me to do. The 3D really captured what it would be like to be on Mars, and of course it’s mainly to the credit of the movie but the 3D should really be mentioned as well.

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The Martian is definitely worth watching and is a return to form for Ridley Scott. I haven’t read the book that it was based on but after this movie, now I really want to. Matt Damon, the rest of the cast and Ridley Scott have made a really great Sci-Fi movie that I want to revisit. The Martian is definitely one of the best movies of the year and is definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

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Good Will Hunting

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Will Hunting
Robin Williams as Sean Maguire
Ben Affleck as Chuckie Sullivan
Minnie Driver as Skylar
Stellan Skarsgård as Gerald Lambeau
Director: Gus Van Sant

Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a genius who works at a college in Boston. He’s discovered by Fields Medal winning Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard) who eventually tries to get Will to turn his life around with the help of Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), as Will begins to realize that there’s more to himself then he thinks there is.

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Good Will Hunting has had a lot of attention and got a lot of good reviews but I never expected the level of greatness I was going to experience walking into this movie. Good Will Hunting succeeds as a coming to age story, a comedy, a drama and overall, it is very compelling and a wonder to behold. It is amazing from start to finish and is a film that really sticks with you afterwards. It is one of those films that are essential to watch at least once in your lifetime.

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The writing from both Ben Affleck and Matt Damon is truly flawless and well made; they must really understand the human psyche because all the characters feel very real and believable; in fact for me, this movie has the most believable characters I have seen in a movie so far. There are times in the movie that are really funny but there are also a lot of real drama moments that really catches people off guard. The drama in this movie is as well done as the comedy is and both tones are well used for the moments. The sadness also really hits hard, even I managed to feel the weight of the emotions and I’m not usually someone who feels emotion from a movie; Good Will Hunting also has many deep, personal messages that really got through to me. There is never a dull minute in this 126 minute long movie. The film is always interesting and that has a lot to do with the characters which are so perfectly acted.

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It goes without saying that this movie has great acting. Matt Damon plays probably the most complex character of his career here and he does such a great job becoming everything that his character is. Robin Williams is also fantastic here; he is usually known for being a comedic actor but here, he gives such a touching performance. Matt Damon and Robin Williams overall gave the best performances of their careers here and they play off each other really well; you can really see the connection between these two characters. Other actors like Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver and Stellan Skarsgard are also great in their roles and they all get their chances to shine in the film. Like I said previously, these characters are so believable and credit has to go to all of the actors in this movie who managed to do that. There isn’t a single performance that wasn’t good and they really takes the film deeper than it would have with different actors.

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The setting of Boston is well portrayed here. The cinematography here is good, though it’s not really the main focus of the movie; it’s the story and script, however even so, these simple shots used in the film somehow are quite effective. The score by Danny Elfman is great too – it really sets the mood.

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This movie should be seen by everyone as soon as possible if they haven’t seen it already; from start to finish, it takes the viewers on a captivating journey that never ceases to amaze me. With its brilliant acting, great writing and big emotional drama, it is a film that I will remember for years to come. Emotionally rich and fantastic, it is one of my favourite movies of all time and has made quite an impact on me.

R.I.P Robin Williams
July 21 1951 – August 11 2014

The Departed (2006)

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The Departed

Time: 151 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence and offensive language
Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio as Billy Costigan
Matt Damon as Colin Sullivan
Jack Nicholson as Frank Costello
Mark Wahlberg as Dignam
Martin Sheen as Queenan
Ray Winstone as Mr French
Vera Farmiga as Madolyn
Alec Baldwin as Ellerby
Director: Martin Scorsese

In South Boston, the state police force is waging war on Irish American organized crime. Young undercover cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo Dicaprio) is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate run by gangland chief Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). While Billy quickly gains Costello’s confidence, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the state police as an informer for the syndicate is rising to a position of power in the Special Investigation Unit. Each man becomes deeply consumed by his double life, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of the operations he has penetrated. But when it becomes clear to both the mob and the police that there’s a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly in danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy-and each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save himself. Each police officer gives his best effort trying to disclose the identity of the other “rat.”

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Martin Scorsese is no stranger to crime movies as well as not being a stranger to making great engaging movies. The Departed is wonderfully made, excellently edited, has great performances and has an interesting story. All of these things are what I ask for in a movie, which The Departed successfully delivers here.

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Despite the fact that this movie is actually a remake of a Hong Kong film, Infernal Affairs, I won’t compare it because I haven’t watched it. The movie takes many twists and turns and does a good job at showing the events unfold. The plot can be quite complicated so it does require your full attention when watching. The film is filled with that same energy that Scorsese had in films like Goodfellas and Casino. There is always something going on to interest the viewer. The film is long at about 2 hours and a half, so it needs to have an engaging story in order to interest the viewers. Fortunately, it does that and so much more, providing many plot twists that keeps the audience guessing what will happen next.

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The acting was really good from everyone they fill their roles perfectly. Both DiCaprio and Damon were really good here as they played characters that were the opposite sides of the spectrum of the other. Their performances were emotionally complex, which made the story more complex than the usual good guy and bad guy type. Jack Nicholson is incredible as Frank Costello who is the mob boss, who is a very sinister and dangerous character. Costello is an unpredictable character and Nicholson channels James Cagney’s performance in White Heat to create a personification of evil. Mark Wahlberg is also fantastic in this movie as Sergeant Dignam; despite him not having many scenes as some of the rest of the cast he delivers some of the best lines and steals the scenes he was in. The characters are well defined and we really feel like we know them, which are done well by the actors.

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The setting of Boston and the atmosphere were captured so well. During the film we often we get shots of many locations of Boston. The music was also good and comes from both from the score by Howard Shore and from existing songs, both which fit the moments they are put it, especially the use of The Dropkick Murphy’s’ “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” during the opening credits.

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Smartly written with many complex plots and with great acting, Martin Scorsese’s The Departed delivers as great crime drama. It is one of his best movies and is one of the best crime drama movies I have ever seen. It’s gripping, it’s entertaining, it’s overall a great movie. Check it out when you can.