Blog Archives

Electricity’s Present Currency First Had a Past Current

Currently, Elon Musk’s Tesla electric cars are facing a variety of challenges ranging from affordability, supply chain viability, and reliable nationwide infrastructure. But back in the 1880s, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and George Westinghouse were engaged in a battle for America’s electric future that is regarded as the “War of Currents.”

101 Studios, with an executive producer credit for Martin Scorsese, will be releasing the cleverly titled movie ‘The Current War’ that is based on the “War of Currents.” Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) will attempt to electrify (I had to) modern audiences to the inception of how the inventors and big-thinkers of the late 19th century strived to win and define America’s electrical current and future.

Check out the brand new trailer for ‘The Current War.’

The Benedict Cumberbatch-led film looks like a fascinating and dramatically engaging take (based on a true story) of an important moment in American history as well as the overarching theme of the ever-unfolding story of innovators and inventors. And, interestingly, this film that highlights the inception of America’s electric past fittingly connects modern pursuits of a wide-range of electric energy solutions.

‘The Current War’ arrives at a theater near you on October 4, 2019.

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Make Room (Or Space) for ‘Ad Astra’ on 9/20/19

It seems as if major Hollywood studios have unintentionally (or intentionally) designated this week as a new movie trailer week.

On that note, the list of movies that take place in space is long and expansive. As in really long and expansive. Particularly in recent years, there’s clearly been interest from moviemakers in LA and demand from audiences worldwide who want to travel to space via the silver screen sans the otherworldly price tag with acting’s biggest headline-grabbers. Just since 2013, films like ‘Gravity,’ ‘Interstellar,’ ‘The Martian,’ ‘Passengers,’ ‘Hidden Figures’ and ‘First Man’ (to name just a few) have explored space, based either on a true story or with a fairly high degree of realism within a fictional story to critical and box office success. Leading A-list actors and actresses in these aforementioned films include Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon, Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Octavia Spencer, and Ryan Gosling.

And now fellow A-List actor Brad Pitt wants in on the action with his new space thriller called ‘Ad Astra,’ which is Latin for “to the stars.”

Interestingly, Liv Tyler portrays Brad Pitt’s wife who remains on earth while her husband ventures into the unknown in the heavens above for a mission revolving around the existence of this planet, which is oddly reminiscent of her role in the 1998 movie ‘Armageddon.’

Hmmm…

Anyways, the plot seems intertwined with exciting action sequences and personal relationships — near and far — that will surely reveal the true purpose of this film involving the enigmatic father character portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones as well as potentially ushering in the newest chapter in 21st-century science fiction. One of ‘Ad Astra’ director James Gray’s films is the 2015 documentary ‘Hitchcock/Truffaut.’ With this in mind, we should keep a keen eye on whether Mr. Gray (who wrote and directed ‘Ad Astra’) utilized any suspenseful techniques made famous by Mr. Hitchcock. For a movie that takes place in space with infinite scale, weaving in Hitchcock thrills via claustrophobia, for example, would bring a level of closeness to a story that will prioritize every ounce of available oxygen.

We know what ‘Ad Astra’ means in Latin, but what does it mean cinematically in 2019? Does the movie’s poster playfully reveal any clues?

ad-astra-poster

While the eye immediately goes to the astronaut’s warped movement in space — which is tantalizingly puzzling — why is the “R” in the title sliced in half in the poster? And then there’s the movie’s tag line, “The answers we seek are just outside our reach.” That suggests a new dimension in space with a Gandalf-caliber “You shall not pass” barrier. Where have we seen that before?

‘Ad Astra’ arrives in a theater near you on September 20.

In 1966, It Was Detroit vs. Maranello in France

The Ford Motor Company and Ferrari.

See, just reading it doesn’t look right. However, seeing the true story of how these two vastly different car companies headquartered a world apart — contrasted by luxury headquartered in Maranello, Italy and American ingenuity headquartered in Detroit, Michigan — crossed paths (well, crisscrossed on the same path) on the silver screen with Academy Award winners Christian Bale and Matt Damon does look right.

And intriguing. And enlightening. And, in 2019, quite surprising to the everyday car driver.

Will ‘Ford v Ferrari’ best Ron Howard’s thrilling 2013 racing film ‘Rush’ that was also based on an incredible true story? We’ll see.

Interestingly, riding around in my uncle’s Ford Mustang last week was proof enough for me of the American car maker’s prowess for building one hell of a powerful engine and sports car. Was a Ford superior to a Ferrari in the mid-’60s? Since director James Mangold’s film is based on a true story, I will not conduct research into the matter before the film’s release date to maintain the element of surprise. However, the fact that a movie has been made about this event suggests an excitingly dramatic finish regardless of the winner.

Gut Prediction: The name of the winning car company of that historic race in 1966 probably began with the letter “f.”

Let’s hope the film’s grade will be anything but.

From 20th Century FOX, ‘Ford v Ferrari’ arrives at a theater near you on November 15.

Will Smith Meets Will Smith in ‘Gemini Man’

To celebrate National DNA Day, it seems fitting to dive into the intriguingly complex subject of human cloning with a twist.

Despite a variety of biological obstacles, human cloning will remain on the “To Do” list of mankind for the foreseeable future. Success in this field promises exciting (yet dangerous) possibilities for future generations on many levels, known and unknown. The applications for such an achievement are endless. However, considering the fact that there are serious ramifications that can impact the life of the clone and the original copy individual, the gamble seems too steep these days. Take into account the signature adverse effect of cloning animals, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute.

“Reproductive cloning is a very inefficient technique and most cloned animal embryos cannot develop into healthy individuals. For instance, Dolly was the only clone to be born live out of a total of 277 cloned embryos. This very low efficiency, combined with safety concerns, presents a serious obstacle to the application of reproductive cloning.”

This same report stated that Dolly lived half of the expected lifespan for a regular sheep. Even using the term “clone” appears to be in the experimental phase of cloning.

Now enter Hollywood.

And now enter a fictional reality in which human cloning is not only shockingly accurate and lethal but taken to a new level (or back to a level) of personal nostalgia.

Ladies and gentlemen, Will Smith presents the first trailer for his new film ‘Gemini Man’ that will either be really good or it will fall into the undesirable ‘After Earth’ territory.

 

Visionary director Ang Lee (Life of Pi, The Hulk) and actor Will Smith (we all know his TV and movie resume) will surely bring their signature skills to this action movie centered on next next-level human cloning. The question — and success of ‘Gemini Man’ — rests solely on screenwriters David Benioff (‘Game of Thrones’), Darren Lemke (‘Goosebumps,’ ‘Shazam!’), Billy Ray (‘Hart’s War,’ ‘Shattered Glass,’ ‘Captain Phillips’).

The story’s hook and the final note of its third act just better not be another Hollywood science fiction clone of its own.

‘Gemini Man’ arrives at a theater near you on October 11, 2019.