The Adjustment Bureau

*****Minor Spoilers*******

I was watching The Adjustment Bureau the other night and I posted that I loved the film on social media and a friend said they weren’t overly impressed with it, saying it was a ‘chick flick’ Now I really disagree with that. I think The Adjustment Bureau is a fantastic movie that does have a strong love story at the heart of it but it also tells a story of how this mysterious group of people is manipulating the world around us without us knowing its happening. Matt Damon’s character finds this out, this mysterious group of people tell him (with a few threats to stop him telling the world about them) and sends him on his way with the knowledge that he’s on the verge of making a difference in the world, but he can’t be with Elise (Emily Blunt’s character) because the plan doesn’t allow that. These people work to a plan.

Now, I think this movie is a good example of tight story telling, and yes at the heart of it all it’s a story of love and that no matter what love will bring people together. Damon and Blunt have a fantastic chemistry and both have a really sweet charm to them and you find yourself rooting for them. I found them to be a really believable couple.

What I find really fascinating about this story is the fact that something really big is going on in the background. You’ve got these guys with these hats on that are directing humanity, their motives are explained a little but while we’re watching Damon’s character David trying to get the girl we get to see a little of the power behind the scenes and that is kinda of scary. I’m going to get the Phillip K. Dick short story that the film is based on because its a fascinating idea and I’m keen to see what the original text is.

The Martian by Andy Weir

I discovered this book by an interview with the author that was on the StarShipSofa podcast. Weir came across as a proper decent, down to earth fella and as I listened to the interview and about the story I was getting more and more interested in it. Then it came up in the conversation that not only has it been optioned for a movie, it’s currently in production and is being directed by Ridley Scott and the lead is being played by Matt Damon, the rest of the cast is also very impressive.

That’s the movie though, I want to talk about the book. I got hold of it on Audio and damn its a good book.
The story is of Mark Watney, who gets abandoned on Mars during a sandstorm by the rest of the six person crew he is part of (they didn’t do it on purpose). Due to the storm he has no communications either.
Watney waking up in this situation is the start of the book. Then we get him setting up how he’s going to survive until the next mission to the red planet arrives. That doesn’t sound exciting, but believe me it is (not much goes to plan).
Watney has an awesome sense of humour that had me laughing multiple times throughout the story, but in other places I was on the edge of my seat (well, I would have been if I’d been sitting down). I think I probably did two or three fist pumps as well when something worked out well. Andy Weir really does get you caring about what happens to Mark Watney, I found I was really pulling for him to make it.

It’s not just about poor Mark Watney on Mars with no one else or no way to communicate with the rest of the human race. We see how things are going back here on earth after the mission to mars was aborted just six days into a thirty day mission.

There is more in the story but I really don’t want to say too much because it may lead to spoilers. Even if they’re only minor I don’t want to ruin anything for someone who is about to read this book. I went into it knowing only the basics and that added to my enjoyment.

I haven’t had this much fun with a book in a long time, please check it out. I’ll include the link to the StarShipSofa podcast episode where Andy Weir was interviewed. It’s a free podcast, so what have you got to loose? 😉

Movie Monday: Elysium

Set in the year 2154 Elysium is a space station where the rich live in as close to a perfect world as its possible. they live in harmony and have a medical system in each home that cures all known illnesses. The poor have to tolerate a hopeless life on earth where there are no jobs, no money and no healthcare. Those on earth have to also put up with bureaucratic robots who run everything.

Earth is where our protagonist max, played superbly by Matt Damon, Is trying to keep himself on the straight and narrow and away from his previous life of crime. Max has a bit of a quick mouth and is searched by two robot police officers who break his arm. At hospital he meets his childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga). She has a sick daughter that comes into play later.

At work Max gets a nasty dose of radiation and has five days to live, and this is when he decides he needs to force his way onto Elysium to use the medical systems they have that will cure him.


I really enjoyed this movie. It gives a look at what a future earth could very possibly come true and it does not feel too much of a push for the rich to isolate themselves further then they already are. There is the odd issue I have with it, I’d imagine this medical system they have would be on earth as well, maybe not as prevalent but I do believe there would be a few of these machines on earth. Law enforcement is done by robots, that look awesome by the way. The people have to deal with automated systems that are not anywhere near understanding or even co-operative.

Los Angeles looks like a slum from any number of third world countries. Buildings look like they are on the verge of collapsing despite being inhabited. The vehicles look rusted and the whole world just looks like its decaying.


The acting is amazing. We all know Jodie Foster, she pulls in a very dark performance as Elysium’s Secretary Of Defence. Matt Damon pulls out a breathtakingly performance here. I like Matt Damon, I think he is a very gifted actor and this is one of my favourite performances from him. We know about Damon and Foster though, its the other main actors here that impressed me a lot. Sharlto Copely as the vicious Kruger is amazing. I’ve seen him play a bungling bureaucrat in District 9, a fruit loop in The A-Team and now a seriously sinister killer who does not care about anybody or thing except himself. Alice Braga as Frey also impressed me, she made me believe she was devoted mother who is struggling to make life as good as possible for her severely ill daughter. I’ve seen Braga in a few films now and her range is impressing me. Diego Luna as Julio, Max’s best friend caught my eye also. I’m not really aware of this actor but after this I’ll be keeping an eye out for him. Wagner Moura as Spider and the awesomeness that is William Fichtner both give solid performances as well.


What I’ve taken away mostly from this movie is its look at humanity. This is an incredibly good movie, but as a look at what may become of us, as a species it is one of the best movies I have seen. The desolation the director Neill Bloomkamp envisages for our future feels eerily real. He has dismantled society and taken the rich and powerful out of it, which leaves the rest of us to try and survive. This is what life is today.


On a personal note, not only do I love this movie I love the inspiration aspect of it. As a science fiction writer it is full of great visuals and gives the mind a lot to play with.


I just also want to mention briefly the shaky camera footage in this one. I don’t mind a bit of this method of filming but here it was too much and if I’m honest I actually want to see the action and not always feel like I’m in the middle of it.