When all is said and done, Guillermo del Toro will likely have asserted himself as one of the greatest visual storytellers of all time. He’s already made a pretty convincing argument for himself with his current body of work, but perhaps the most promising thing about del Toro is that his talents behind the camera only seem to be improving. His latest, Crimson Peak, just might be the most breathtaking movie he’s shot to date, even if the film’s story doesn’t quite ascend to the same heights as its visuals.
Chef is writer, director, and star Jon Favreau’s return to small-scale independent filmmaking. After spending more than a decade helming Hollywood blockbusters such as Elf, Iron Man, and Cowboys & Aliens, Favreau’s latest takes inspiration from his own personal and professional life. Auteurship, balancing work and family, and the pursuit of happiness each serve as the main ingredients at Chef’s core. Unfortunately, the movie—much like its protagonist—is a bit too concerned with satisfying its customers to possess any bite in the end.
It’s hard to find much fault with Ridley Scott’s The Martian. The story doesn’t lose much of what made Andy Weir’s debut novel so engaging; the visuals are as strong as we’d expect from the talented director behind Alien and Blade Runner; and Matt Damon gives a compelling performance in the lead role as Mark Watney. If you have any interest in hard science fiction at all you should run to your local theater immediately to see The Martian—or check showtimes and plan ahead like a rational person, your call. But, for anyone that has already read the book (and to those of you that enjoy a good read I insist you go find a copy), it’s not impossible to nitpick. So, please, take any of my forthcoming pomposity with a grain of salt, and don’t let it stop you from engaging with this great story one way or the other.