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Sunday, Oct. 11 - Thurs. Oct. 15
Sunday: (1:00, 4:00-3D) and 7:00
Monday - Thursday: (4:00-3D) and 7:00
141 minutes / PG13
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Peña

During a manned mission to Mars, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return. Based on Andy Weir’s best-selling novel, and directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien), this gripping sci-fi adventure also stars Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover.

Science helps sell the fiction of 'The Martian'
Left for dead, an astronaut wakes up, alone and injured, on Mars. Matt Damon, perfectly cast as astronaut Mark Watney in “The Martian,” makes us care not just about his wisecracks but also about his science. The latter is a credit to Andy Weir’s novel, as adapted by Drew Goddard and smartly directed by Ridley Scott. There are no space aliens in “The Martian,” no little green men or beautiful blue women. Instead, this is an action movie with botany, as Mark tries to farm potatoes in a place where nothing grows, and chemistry, as he works to turn rocket fuel into water. There’s technology, as he eventually begins to communicate with Earth. Don’t be skeptical; all this is riveting. The movie skimps on letting the audience get to know Mark’s crew, even though Chastain gets second billing and is a key player in the end game. You can easily guess what that end game is; there’s never a doubt, even as NASA scrambles for solutions, what the answer will be, only how it will be executed. That doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of “The Martian,” a gorgeous film that could inspire a whole new crop of astronauts. But don’t let seeing the movie stop you from reading the book. - - - Gail Pennington / St. Louis Post - Dispatch • Three stars out of four •


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Featured at the Backlot!
Sunday, Oct. 11 - Thursday, Oct. 15
Sunday: (2:00, 5:00) and 8:00
Monday - (4:30)
Tuesday - Wednesday: (4:30) and 7:30
Thursday: (4:30)
121 minutes / PG13
Director: Nancy Meyers
Cast: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Anders Holm

Experience never gets old. In the new comedy The Intern, Robert De Niro stars as Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widower who has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables, The Devil Wears Prada). Also starring Rene Russo and Nat Wolff, The Intern is written and directed by Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give, What Women Want).b

'The Intern' gets the job done
“The Intern” is the latest comedy from writer-director Nancy Meyers (“Something’s Gotta Give,” “It’s Complicated”). Although it’s unlikely to be remembered come Oscar time and ultimately succumbs to sentimentality, it’s mostly charming and fun to watch. De Niro, who in recent films has often seemed to be merely going through the motions, delivers a delightful performance as Ben. And he has terrific chemistry with Hathaway, who strikes just the right balance between humor and angst. These days, it’s tough to find a comedy that even aspires to sophistication. “The Intern” entertainingly fills that slot. - - Calvin Wilson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Three stars out of four •