Ten things I learnt from watching Rocky I, II, III and IV back to back

It didn’t start as a Rocky marathon… I was only supposed to watch the first two but then I found myself so wrapped up in the story of the Italian Stallion that I had to carry on. Well I say that, in actuality, it was my wife watching them for the first time who was obviously baying for blood so much that she couldn’t turn them off. And so it came to pass that I watched Rocky I, II, III and IV back to back. Here is what I learnt:

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Room – 8.5/10

Take a fucking bow Brie Larson…


Hollywood is blessed right now with two spectacular actresses in Elizabeth Olsen and Jennifer Lawrence. Brie Larson impressed in The Spectacular Now, dazzled in Short Term 12 and with Room she has taken acting to a level that even Olsen and Lawrence are yet to reach. Before you accuse me of hyperbole, Larson has yet to prove she can carry a franchise or show the sheer range that Jennifer Lawrence has or the ability to star in a blockbuster like Olsen but in terms of a singular performance, Brie Larson in Room is right up there with any dramatic turn from anyone. She really is that fucking good.

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The Martian – 8/10

Matt Damon makes a film much more fun than his last space outing…


Since Gravity in 2013 there has been one big space movie every year. Last year it was Interstellar and 2015 brought Ridley Scott’s The Martian. Now whilst there is no denying the visual brilliance of Gravity or the huge critical acclaim of Interstellar, at times they are both ponderous and humourless affairs. The Martian‘s great strength is that it combines breathtaking effects and science, with a brilliantly down to Earth (sorry) performance from Matt Damon.

Unlike say Interstellar, The Martian is laugh out loud funny on numerous occasions and credit must go to Ridley Scott for combining comedic actors such as Kirsten Wiig and Community‘s Donald Glover with a plethora of excellent acting talent like Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels. Daniels in particular is perfect for the tone of the film as he is equally comfortable in both dramatic and comedic roles and he gets a chance to do both in The Martian.

Leading the pack is Matt Damon who carries the early part of the movie where it is basically just him and the scenery with ease. Damon has made a career out of playing understated but charismatic characters and his Mark Watney is both likeable and relatable despite being an astronaut and genius botanist.


Rounding of the cast are Kate Mara and Michael Pena who are both on their way to becoming household names already and it is this incredibly talented collection of actors that make for an engrossing story that never outstays it’s welcome even at over 2 hours.

The Martian shows that you can combine serious science with heart wrenching emotion and still end up with a fun and easy watch. In the movie space race of the last three years, The Martian is easily taking home the gold medal.