The Martian is the Anti-Alien – an Optimistic Paean to Science and Nerddom

Three-and-a-half decades ago, Alien established Ridley Scott as a director to watch. Drawing on the conventions of the increasingly-popular slasher film and rejecting the Star-Trek-esque optimism of the sci-fi films of that era, he created a chilling classic. But his potential as a director has dribbled away somewhat in the years since; while I don’t…

Jeremy Irons in Margin Call (2011)

Margin Call (2011)

Margin Call seems like the perfect post-Wolf of Wall Street palate cleanser. Scorsese’s film wielded kinetic entertainment as provocation, presenting the unlimited excess of the American dream before turning the camera on the audience and insisting on their culpability. Margin Call isn’t on the same level, trading absurd hedonism for dry didacticism on the verge…

The Usual Suspects (1995)

So, spoilers: The Usual Suspects is actually pretty shitty. It has a good reputation in a many quarters, launching the career of Bryan Singer (who went on to direct some good X-Men films and a critically-reviled Superman reboot) and featuring lynchpin performances from Kevin Spacey and Gabriel Byrne. It’s mostly remembered for that twist, one…