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Ad Astra: A Film Full Of Philosophical Musings And Impressions Of Weighty Loneliness

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Colonel, for what it means,
I think my father is dead.

 

I can fully understand that when you haven’t heard from a friend who lives a few blocks away for a long time, you get prepped and plan a visit to the person in question. Just like that. Just to find out why he or she hasn’t been in touch all this time. And to check whether everything is still alright. In most cases, you’re actually not going to experience anything exciting or breathtaking along the way. Now, extrapolate this situation to a much greater distance. From Earth to Neptune, for example. That’s an enormously long time that you are on the road. And if you’re lucky, you won’t come across any life-threatening or perilous situations either. In short, you are on a spaceship, feeling at ease and try to kill some time. Maintaining your ecosystem daily. Going through your huge pile of magazines full of crosswords that need to be solved. Or you give your spaceship a decent scrubbing every week. All sorts of things so as not to get mad out of boredom. I’m afraid that many home viewers will do the same things while watching “Ad Astra“.

 

Ad Astra

 

Navel-gazing in space.

Claiming that there’s really nothing happening in “Ad Astra” is, of course, a bit exaggerated. For example, there are space pirates on the moon targeting the convoy, with Brad Pitt among the travelers. Apparently, building a high-tech space station on the moon is a piece of cake. But a solid defense system to throw naughty space pirates back into the infinite galaxy (far, far away) was apparently too much to ask. Next, there’s also a run-in with a crazy primate on a space ship in distress. And the end of the film is also provided with some fragments that are more action-rich. But most of this two-hour-long SF is nevertheless filled with a lot of complaining, staring at an undefined point and moments of self-reflection. To be honest, I’d call it a demonstration of navel-gazing among the stars.

 

Ad Astra

 

Impressive imagery.

I confess. I expected something completely different. Let me put it this way. I would have preferred “Ad Astra” to be more in the corner of films such as “Interstellar” or “Gravity” (although I wasn’t a big fan of the latter). The first is a more scientifically oriented SF about black holes and dimensions and whatnot. While “Gravity” wanted to be the most populistic one. And this by having George Clooney and Sandra Bullock make a round dance in space. I link “Ad Astra” to a movie like “High Life“. This was also such a film where the aspect of human psychology and conflict situations between individuals took center stage. And just like the other listed movies, there are some amazing visual highlights in this movie. Those images of space looked impressive on the large silver screen despite their minimalistic character at certain moments. But then again, I wasn’t waiting for a story about an intergalactic father-son relationship with all its ups and downs.

 

Ad Astra

 

A stunning acting performance by Brad Pitt.

The most impressive thing about the film? The acting by Brad Pitt. The way he plays the astronaut Roy McBride is simply stunning. An autistic character whose numbness and phlegmatic nature make him a suitable candidate for carrying out such an expedition. The way he performs the psychological evaluation tests bears witness to total body control and lack of emotions. Roy McBride is a person whose heart rate never exceeds 80 beats per minute. Not even in a life-threatening situation when he tumbles out of the atmosphere. And the way he shows how emotions slowly seep into his system is simply admirable. After “Once upon a time … in Hollywood” this is also a rendition with which he could receive a well-known award. They also managed to bait star actors such as Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland, and Tommy Lee Jones. The roles of the first two, however, have little to no impact.

 

Ad Astra

 

I can feel it. A nomination is in the air!.

Ad Astra” is not an epic space story full of sensational space battles or creatively worked out aliens. Apart from some sporadically added action-rich scenes, this is a film full of philosophical musings and impressions of weighty loneliness. I fear that the opinions about “Ad Astra” will be divided. Some will regard it as the most moving film of the year. In general, the Film Press has words of praise for it. So trust me, it’s a film that will be loved by the connoisseurs of the “better” film. Others are more likely to call it plain boring. The message about the loss of a parent and the search for that parent is kind of obvious. There’s even a theological theme to discern. The result, however, is an end-product that looks long-winded with a denouement which isn’t really satisfying. Well, I’m sure that an Oscar nomination will be in place next year. But for me, it remains an honorable mention.

 

My rating 5/10
Links: IMDB

Adventure

Artemis Fowl: Time To Believe | Official Trailer – HD

Artemis Fowl II (Ferdia Shaw), a young Irish criminal mastermind, kidnaps the fairy LEPrecon officer Captain Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) for ransom to fund the search for his missing father in order to restore the family fortune.

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Genre:

Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Release Date:

May 29, 2020

Director:

Kenneth Branagh

Cast:

Colin Farrell, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Miranda Raison, Nonso Anozie, Ferdia Shaw

Plot Summary:

Artemis Fowl II (Ferdia Shaw), a young Irish criminal mastermind, kidnaps the fairy LEPrecon officer Captain Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) for ransom to fund the search for his missing father in order to restore the family fortune.

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Adventure

IO: An Orgasmic Experience For Global Environmentalists And Defeatists

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Sam, we have to leave this place.
Sooner or later you’ll have to.

 

IO” will certainly be an orgasmic experience for global environmentalists and defeatists. Supporters of global protest movements about global warming and the destruction of our balanced eco-system will certainly use this film as an example to reinforce their apocalyptic disaster scenarios. Can you already imagine it? Such a television program where they put a microphone under the nose of such an environmental adept? You can bet that comments such as “You see. Any idea what misery we’ll get into if we don’t intervene now?” will be flung at the interviewer. In my humble opinion, all this is a storm in a glass of water (And no, global warming didn’t cause that storm). I blame it on the natural evolution that our planet is undergoing. An evolution in cycles in which we as humans only speed up the process because of our polluting behavior. Soit. I should stick to just one particular thing I’m good at. And that’s to write down a review of the movie in question. Short and concise: the film is as boring as any environmental debate of today.

 

 

IO

 

Planet Earth on the brink of destruction.

For those who didn’t know yet, “IO” shows us for the umpteenth time a deserted, uninhabitable planet Earth. This concept has been used to a great extent in multiple films with a different cause each time. Either it’s because of a zombie outbreak like in “World War Z” and similar zombie movies. Or it’s prehistoric creatures like in “The Silence” that cause a global slaughter. And let’s not forget aliens? They appear all the time to plunder our blue planet because they themselves are without resources. Viruses, impulses via mobile telephones, an innocent text message, a computer virus or simply a world war. An enormous number of causes have already been used to create chaos with an extinct planet as a result.

 

 

IO

 

Everybody left. Sam stayed.

Here in “IO“, it’s toxic fumes that cause the population to die en masse. Choking and blood transforming into a black liquid. Scientists claim the reason is an unexpected change in atmospheric composition. Smart people with common sense realize that it’s only Mother Earth who is thoroughly sick and tired of us and tries to get us off this planet with a well-aimed ecological kick in the butt. The result is a massive exodus to IO, a planet floating around somewhere near Jupiter. But that doesn’t apply to teenage girl Sam (Margaret Qualley) who stayed behind on Mother Earth, living in a house somewhere on a mountain where the toxic fumes can’t reach. When she looks over the valley, this smothering smog hangs like fog in the valley. Even a storm cannot blow these toxic fumes over the ridge. What the storm surely did, was blowing away a bee colony, necessary for the scientific research Sam and her father, who initiated this research and apparently didn’t survive the disaster, were doing. Or he went up in smoke. I cannot judge what this scientific research actually meant or if it made sense. That’s probably due to my limited intelligence.

 

 

IO

 

Dullness and slowness.

All in all, the beginning of the film wasn’t bad. Sam wearing an oxygen mask, traveling through the deserted streets of some American city with the help of a quad (equipped with a trailer). Images of a dead city and horribly dark underground corridors where rainwater drips from the ceiling. And the realization that her visiting time is limited to the content of the oxygen bottles. A miscalculation and she falls prey to the toxic fumes. Exciting. Captivating. But at the same time, it’s not groundbreaking. Even when Micah (AnthonyFalconMackie) arrives in a Jules Verne-like balloon, it doesn’t get much more fascinating. What follows is a conflict between these two main characters. Sam wants to continue her father’s life’s work and prove that life on Earth could be possible in the future. Micah wants to board the last spaceship that leaves for IO but needs some extra help. When the romantic get-together comes into play, I immediately thought of “Z for Zachariah“. A similar film that starts interesting but is characterized by a general dullness and slowness.

 

 

IO

 

Dissappointing.

The two main characters weren’t the problem. Margaret Qualley is a good-looking appearance and shows in a solid way how determined the character Sam is. Only the decisions she made were a bit implausible. Anthony Mackie manages to play the unsympathetic balloonist with a self-control problem effortlessly. The script was too nihilistic for me. The pace was irritatingly low. And the story itself was extremely boring. Many technically perfect still lifes. Lots of musing and breaks full of drama. Even the hopeful ending with a mythological-religious message couldn’t raise the level. Well, “IO” was a bit of a disappointment for me. I didn’t expect a “Lucas Arts” kind of movie where everything “explodes and blasts and bleeps”. But in terms of dullness, this Netflix Original still beats many competitors.

You can watch “IO” on Netflix now!

 

My rating 4/10
Links: IMDB

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Marvel Studios | Big Game Spot | ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,’ ‘WandaVision’ and ‘Loki’

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Marvel Studios has given us our first look at its upcoming Disney + shows, which include, ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, ‘WandaVision’ and a quick tease of ‘Loki.’ 

‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ is set to take place after the events of ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ and picks up with (Anthony Mackie’s) Sam Wilson who is now the new “Captain America.” The show will center around new global adventures with Sam and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan.)

‘WandaVision’ will also make its debut this fall, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Wanda Maximoff and the Vision. The 1950s-inspired series will have Wanda and Vision trying to live a “Normal” life. But things aren’t always what they seem. The latest trailer shows the two heroes jumping in and out of different timelines. The show has been described as comedic and dark.

Little is known about the upcoming ‘Loki’ series, as the show isn’t set to air until 2021. We do know, the show will also take place after the events of ‘Avengers: Endgame.’ How Loki survived having his neck broken by the mad titan, Thanos, has yet to be revealed. Apparently the God of Mischief had one more trick up his sleeve. The latest teaser has Loki promising, “I’m going to burn this place to the ground.”

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