Blog Archives

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.

Advertisements

‘The Rise of Skywalker’ Is Here

The highly-anticipated first teaser trailer for ‘Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker’ has arrived after just being shown to fans at the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago.

Watch. Now! 

To say ‘Episode IX’ looks amazing with J.J. Abrams returning to the director’s chair is an understatement. The tone is certainly reminiscent of ‘The Force Awakens,’ which of course was directed by Mr. Abrams. That will please many ‘Star Wars’ fans. And opening in the desert with heavy breathing by one of its stars for both initial teasers for ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ was a nice touch of continuity by the director.

At this point, it’s time to just rewatch a few (dozen) times in excitement as December inches ever closer.

However, just one quick analytical note:

I really thought this new trilogy was spelling out the overarching theme and meaning through its titles. Such as ‘The Force Awakens the Last Jedi…’ Grammatically, ‘The Force Awakens the Last Jedi the Rise of Skywalker’ doesn’t make sense. Bummer.

Awakens-Last-Rise? The overarching themes of the three films in the sequence are remarkably similar to Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy but less dark.

Interesting.

For now, Luke Skywalker is back as a narrator/guiding voice (we’ll see if that’s his final form) as well as Lando Calrissian.

The past meets the future in ‘Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.’

2018: A Space Return

Some movies are made for IMAX.

‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is one of these films.

And this cinematic epic–and this landmark film in equal measure–will be re-released in IMAX in movie theaters across the country. Digitally remastered for the size, scope, scale, feel and the sound of everything that is awesome with IMAX, ‘2001’ will give audiences the chance to see this movie again. Or possibly for the first time in stunning fashion.

Here’s a preview.

Check your local listings to see if the IMAX version of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ will be playing in a movie theater near you.

This isn’t just a movie. It’s an experience.

He Lost the Battle & Saw the Wars

Kelsey Grammer is the quintessential sitcom actor. But the crazy thing is that Kelsey Grammer was not that far off from not being a beloved TV star, as revealed in a recent chat with Conan O’Brien.

Whoa.

Speaking as a Kelsey Grammer fan, I’m not quite sure if the role of the smuggling badass named Han Solo would have been right for the actor best known as Frasier Crane. On the other hand, Mr. Grammer is a brilliant actor with a wide-range of talent (ie – Boss on Starz several years back).

I’ll need a few more (par)secs to decide.