Mars Potatoes with Vicodin: THE MARTIAN

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Highlight: A Ridley Scott Film: THE MARTIAN

By Tinsel & Tine Editor, Le Anne Lindsay

Matt Damon joins the ranks of Tom Hanks (Castaway), Ryan Reynolds (Buried), James Franco (127 Hours), Suraj Sharma (Life  of PI) Sandra Bullock (Gravity) and Robert Redford (All is Lost) - Movies where the main character is stranded somewhere alone and must rely on their own wits to not only survive, but to entertain themselves. (click links for T&T posts)

In THE MARTIAN Mark Watley (Damon) is an Astronaut with a background in Botany. He's part of a crew of 5 sent to explore Mars.  All is witty repartee and good natured barbs at one another, over the spacesuit intercom until a storm on Mars comes whipping up. The captain, Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) quickly assesses the situation and decides it's time to abandon the mission and head back to earth. Watley disagrees, but mid sentence he's struck by an antennae; and with all the dust and wind, visibility is impossible, he's out of sight. The crew doesn't want to leave him behind, but when they can't get a signal from his suit, it's Melissa's call to leave him for dead.

But of course he's not dead and upon waking up abandon, Watley becomes Macgyver 2.0 in space!  There's nothing he can't think up, fashion, figure out, come up with, fix or maneuver. It's like this guy took one of those Limitless pills!  I mock to be humorous, but in actuality Ridley Scott's The Martian, based on a book by Andy Weir, is completely believable, the production is mind blowing, just as good as Gravity,  the science feels credible and the script is acutely intelligent without being dense.

T&T LAMB Score: 5 outta 5


Two actors, an astronaut and Mr. Mars 

Walk into the Fels Planetarium 

I got to attend a panel discussion to promote The Martian in Philly at Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute moderated by Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts. The participants: were two cast members from The Martian, Sebastian Stan (Mars crew) & Mackenzie Davis (Mission Control), retired NASA astronaut, Nicole Stott and Dr. Jim "Mr. Mars" Green - Director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA, also the film's consultant, and lead scientist on the announcement this past week on the discovery of streaks of water on Mars.

Astronaut Nicole Stott discussing the accuracy of the movies crew
As I said, the movie feels completely realistic, but don't take my word on it - during her time at NASA Astronaut Stott spent 91 days on the International Space Station and 6 hours outside doing a space walk. She had nothing but praise for THE MARTIAN and particularly felt they got the camaraderie, both professionally and personally completely right between the crew and the crew's relationship with Mission Control.

Actress Mackenzie Davis discussing her training for "The Martian"
Mackenzie Davis (That Awkward Moment, What If, Breath) plays a young Communications Engineer at Mission Control, who discovers Mark Watney is still alive. She notices a discrepancy on the monitors transmitting different images from Mars after the crew's departure. Davis was asked during the Q&A about her interest in space and whether space exploration is a worthwhile endeavor. Davis says getting this deeper understanding of what NASA does has been amazing and that since she was a little girl she's been fascinated by black holes. She's even imagined going on a space expedition, but for some reason never imagined coming back. She has since had a chance to visit Johnson Space Center (NASA) but did not get to go ahead of filming the movie. She was able to converse with consultants prior to the movie - however, she contributes most of the authenticity to Ridley Scott's interactive, immersive sets and amazingly real environments.

Actor Sebastian Stan discussing wire acting
Sebastian Stan  (Captain America, Gossip Girl series) said the movie reinvigorated his interest in science and space exploration.  He was asked how much astronaut training he was given prior to shooting? His response, not much. Most of the physical training pertained to mastering the wires used to make them look as if they are weightless and floating around the ship. He said it's a lot harder than it looks, you're in a big heavy spacesuit that is not weightless, and gravity & physics tend to spin the person on the wires in a way that would not take place if you were actually in space.

 For what gems Dr. Jim "Mr. Mars" Green imparted 
you can watch this short video
I even got to ask him a question!
NASA's Dr. Green discussing the validity of growing potatoes on Mars
Note:video will not be visible to those receiving Tinsel & Tine via RSS Feed. Click HERE to view

Be sure to keep watching after he answers Dr. Pitts questions, there's a brief pause and then I have the mic

Food n Film:  Mark Watley figured out how to ration his Martian grown potatoes, but he forgot to ration his ketchup, so he dips his potato into some Vicodin. Hey, when you're alone on your own planet, why the hell not!

Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog


A Revlock Review: SICARIO

Friday, October 2, 2015

Director Denis Villenueve's American Crime Thriller

By Tinsel & Tine Blog Contributor, Mikhail Revlock

In the opening minutes of SICARIO, a team of FBI agents plow their armored truck through the front wall of a suburban home, find a legion of plastic-covered corpses behind the drywall, and trigger a massive explosion. Though none of the subsequent set pieces pack as big a punch as the introduction, the ensuing film is a masterwork in sustained tension. This will come as no surprise to followers of Canadian director Denis Villenueve, who rose to international distinction on the strength of Incendies—scoring a nomination for Best Foreign Film at the 2010 Academy Awards—and proceeded to conquer the states with Prisoners in 2013.  Both features (not to mention his bizarre doppelganger mindbender Enemy) are soaked in dread and ambiguity. Alcon Entertainment has tapped him for the sequel to Blade Runner. If anyone can make magic with a long-gestating, seemingly superfluous follow-up to a sci-fi classic, it is Villenueve. (Or George Miller.) Do not go to Villenueve for comic relief, however. There is nothing light or playful about the director’s work. The drama is near-operatic in some instances. His world is peopled with infuriated men, hysterical women, and dire situations. Infidelity, child abduction, war crimes, incest and school shootings are just a few of his subjects.

In Sicario, he takes aim at the complex interplay of the United States, Mexico, and the illegal drug trade. In the service of this market, wives are murdered, children dropped in vats of acid. The city of Juarez is depicted as a criminal wasteland of lynched, beheaded bodies. Though FBI Agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is a seasoned hostage specialist, she is a novice when it comes to drug cartels. Nevertheless, her sterling performance during the raid convinces Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), a mysterious government official who wears flip-flops during meetings, that she would make a strong addition to his task force. She accepts the assignment without hesitation, driven by vengeance and curiosity.  The next day, she flies to Mexico in a private jet with Graver and the scruffy,cagey Alejandro (Benecio Del Toro). The jet raises red flags for Macer. Her suspicions are cemented by the ragtag group of grizzled biker types who comprise the remainder of the task force. From the early goings, it is evident that this band of drug crusaders is not on the up and up.

"Sicario" is the word for hit man in Spanish. The significance of the title does not sink in until the final act of the film when Blunt disappears for a stretch and Del Toro takes the lead. All three of the main actors do good work with somewhat underwritten parts, but Del Toro steals the show. He does not have many lines, and his face betrays few expressions, and yet his presence is immense. His grim stolidity is a good match for Villenueve, and provides the wounded heart that beats dimly beneath the grisly veneer of Sicario.

T &T's LAMB Score: 4 outta 5
Mikhail Revlock is a freelance journalist and fiction writer. His hobbies include bicycles, books, and food. A Philadelphia native, he lives in University City with his girlfriend and two cats. Be sure to check out past contributions: Interviews: "Dear White People" director Justin Simien and Kevin MacDonald "Black Sea". Reviews:  "American Sniper", "Beyond the Reach", "Run All Night", "Horrible Bosses" "Jupiter Ascending" Event: Insidious Chapter 3 4 D Experience

Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog


Empire Season 2 RECAP: Without a Country

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Empire Season 2, Episode 2: Without A Country

directed by Dee Rees gets going with Cookie, Andre and Hakeem starting their own label. It takes them a while to come up with a name, but by the end of the episode it's crowned #LyonDynasty, a perfect name to rival #Empire; not to mention, Lee Daniels and Danny Strong's mega hit is often referred to as The Black, Dynasty.

On the contrary, nobody is down with the name Hakeem comes up with for the all girl group he's looking to produce.
Meanwhile Lucious is still sportin an orange jumpsuit and is having trouble getting his meds, as that female prosecutor thinks this is the way to force a confession. At first I was thinking what meds? Then I remembered, Lucious is still sick. Once he was no longer dying, I forgot about his actual ailment. But you know LL's not sweatin it, or the new security guard on a power trip played with conviction by Ludacris.  So funny to hear him disparage rappers.

Lucious has his mind on dropping a single from Prison titled #SnitchBitch.  This cut could be the "DripDrop" of season 2.  His new Hustle & Flow lawyer, Thirsty, turned out to have the juice to get Lucious everything he needs in prison to record, including autotune. Everything that is, except making sure Luda wasn't on duty, who breaks up the recording session, and throws Lucious in solitary.  He's not there for long though as Thirsty also gets Lucious a new bail hearing, complete with blackmail pictures of the judge, having a little fun with S&M.

I hate it when Hakeem and Jamal are against one another - Jamal won't let Keem have his album for his new label, so Keem released it free on iTunes.  Jamal threatens to sue him.

Andre doesn't have the stomach for ghetto offices and the pressure of an upstart. He begs Cookie to let him go and begs Lucious to take him back.  Lucious wants Hakeem back, but not Dre.  Then they cut to a scene with Kelly Rowland singing a distant, melancholy itsy bitsy spider to what looks like a very young Lucious Lyon.
And this tweet is just funny!

Check Out Last Week's Recap

Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog


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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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