James Gray's "inward-looking" sci-fi film AD ASTRA starring Brad Pitt

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I mean that every one of his films is very different from the one before it, like a classic studio system director.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 4 September 2019 00:11 (eight months ago) link

Like here, which I just found:

http://collider.com/journeyman-directors-explained/

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 4 September 2019 00:11 (eight months ago) link

he's not a 'journeyman' to me; not even in the auteurist Allan Dwan sense

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 4 September 2019 00:31 (eight months ago) link

I read "journeyman" and think, I dunno, Henry Hathaway or something

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 4 September 2019 00:32 (eight months ago) link

more like Jack Smight

p sure the guy who wrote the Collider thing has not seen any pre-Jaws movies

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 4 September 2019 00:34 (eight months ago) link

every one of his films is very different from the one before it, like a classic studio system director.

the difference is I believe Gray originates all his projects. Also a lot of commonalities in the ones before (or even through) The Immigrant.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 4 September 2019 00:39 (eight months ago) link

Yeah, I guess that's a distinction. No one is bringing him projects.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 4 September 2019 00:53 (eight months ago) link

Like, Curtis Hanson, that's the type of director I'm thinking of.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 4 September 2019 00:58 (eight months ago) link

ughhh

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 4 September 2019 01:00 (eight months ago) link

I like Hanson.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 4 September 2019 01:01 (eight months ago) link

It’s very interesting, because they have found that it’s a very different thing for the astronauts that go up 200 miles up in the ISS, where the Earth is still most of your vision when you look out the window.... And it’s a very different psychological effect, apparently. They don’t know for sure what would happen the further you go out, but they’re anticipating that it has potentially serious consequences. When the Earth is just a blue dot, what does that mean?

So, this certainly went into the kind of thought process that Brad and I had discussed about the character. It became very important to us, this idea that the Earth all of a sudden gets smaller and smaller, and the sun gets smaller and smaller. All the things that we know—all the things that are tangible and beautiful—seem further and further away. We thought this was an excellent context for something....

You know, I have huge admiration for Alfonso Cuarón, because I don’t know how he made that movie Gravity, knowing now what it is. What we tried to do, as much as we could, was go old school. We built two sets; a horizontal set, and then a vertical one. On the horizontal set, you would put the actor on a moving rig. And then the vertical, you’re shooting from the bottom looking up, and you hang the actor on wires. Usually, they’re blocking the wires. When they’re not, you paint them out. It’s a very effective effect when you combine the two sets, and the wides and the close-ups....

It’s basically like making a kind of semi 3D painting. You have pre- and post-vis, but it doesn’t really approximate what the thing is going to look like, and you have to get it right. If you make a mistake in judging the animation, they turn to you and they say, “What are you talking about? That’s rendered. You did that with the animation you chose.” So, I realize I really have to be so specific about the animation on a very basic level. And that was painstaking. That took forever.

https://deadline.com/2019/08/ad-astra-james-gray-interview-sci-fi-future-fox-venice-1202705879/

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 9 September 2019 18:21 (eight months ago) link

“There’s a level of bullshit that the culture is now embracing,” Gray said. “The other day, the doctor is poking around my pancreas, and he’s, like, ‘You see “The Avengers 2”?’ I’m, like, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Why not?’ I’m, like, ‘I’m not nine!’ ” Gray thought that public reporting of movies’ gross profits, a practice that took off in the eighties, changed the popular conception of what a successful film looked like. (“My dad will say, ‘That was a very big hit!’ I’ll be, like, ‘I don’t think you’re a stockholder in Time Warner!’ ”)

johnny crunch, Monday, 9 September 2019 21:00 (eight months ago) link

uh oh he's flirting with getting an old man gif ILX'd at him

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 9 September 2019 21:09 (eight months ago) link

I’m, like, ‘I’m not nine!’

lol these movies aren't for 9yos, they're for manbabies

Οὖτις, Monday, 9 September 2019 21:35 (eight months ago) link

“They rate everything according to Francis Ford Coppola movies,” Ali Gray explained. A superb meal on Gross’s scale is a “Godfather.” A meal better than superb is a “Godfather II.” One that’s rewarding but an acquired taste (such as Gray’s lemon fettuccine with jalapeños) is an “Apocalypse Now.” Once, there was a “Jack” meal, but they don’t talk about it.

Fuck this dude; he can fall under a bus.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Monday, 9 September 2019 22:18 (eight months ago) link

I'm seeing this on thursday :) Quite excited, and I'm not really the biggest Gray-fan anyway.

Frederik B, Monday, 9 September 2019 22:46 (eight months ago) link

I'm a fan (less so of Brad Pitt), and I'll be there Thursday.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 9 September 2019 22:52 (eight months ago) link

I've seen two, maybe three of his movies (Little Odessa, We Own The Night, and I might have seen The Immigrant, I don't remember). Zero interest in the others, this one included.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Monday, 9 September 2019 23:01 (eight months ago) link

Two Lovers and Lost City of Z flirt with greatness often.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 9 September 2019 23:05 (eight months ago) link

haven't seen his other films but I liked The Lost City of Z

Dan S, Monday, 9 September 2019 23:07 (eight months ago) link

We Own the Night is such a weird clunky obvious movie that I feel it's almost a commentary on something. I thought it looked great but felt very stupid.

omar little, Monday, 9 September 2019 23:08 (eight months ago) link

Oh, I'm seeing this thing! But had to bail on that New Yorker profile 1/3 of the way in. Excruciating, and not because Gray himself is a ludicrous human being.

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Monday, 9 September 2019 23:09 (eight months ago) link

I even liked large bits of We Own the Night. He has a gravity that never turns to camp.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 9 September 2019 23:15 (eight months ago) link

the weirdness of WOtN is in its total sincerity in presenting absurd material, which isn't necessarily a demerit...

omar little, Monday, 9 September 2019 23:22 (eight months ago) link

now u know how I feel about u, unp

Tommy Lee Jones is plying Pitt's father here... he is a mere 17 years younger than Brad

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 9 September 2019 23:28 (eight months ago) link

Wow how does that work

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:10 (eight months ago) link

lol

WmC, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:46 (eight months ago) link

relativity.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 02:09 (eight months ago) link

Love all this guy's movies and I'm really excited about this.

ryan, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 02:58 (eight months ago) link

otm

johnny crunch, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 03:14 (eight months ago) link

i'm starting to really hate every fucking thread in this fucking middle-aged asylum

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 05:28 (eight months ago) link

Saw it this afternoon and I was sadly unimpressed. Brad Pitt's ok and there's some decent space spectacle and a few dark laughs, but it's portentous in the extreme (thankfully dialogue is relatively scant, but I thought both it and Pitt's voiceover border on cringe- and/or laugh-worthy at times) and the whole thing is so utterly unsurprising/unadventurous, in terms of ideas, plot or the emotional side of things. I liked both Gravity and Sunshine, and thought this bears a lot of similarities to and/or took cues from both, without really doing anything different enough for me. Not terrible, but not great either.

Press reviews I've read have been incredibly positive though (Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian and the Skinny and List here in Scotland), so I was surprised and disappointed. Anyone else caught it yet?

brain (krakow), Friday, 20 September 2019 16:52 (eight months ago) link

I watched it, loved it. Loved the way it just dives headfirst into banality.

Frederik B, Friday, 20 September 2019 16:56 (eight months ago) link

TLJ has some beautiful line readings.

I enjoyed it more than the average metaphysical space film, but this is not my genre.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 20 September 2019 16:59 (eight months ago) link

Ah, I wish I had loved it! I'm generally a fan of this kind of film and could have done with a couple of hours proper escape.

How do you mean you loved the dive into banality?

brain (krakow), Friday, 20 September 2019 17:06 (eight months ago) link

yikes

Is it true the star Beetle Juice is going to explode in 2012 (bizarro gazzara), Friday, 20 September 2019 20:05 (eight months ago) link

i would imagine Gray would not mesh perfectly with big-budget expectations

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 20 September 2019 20:17 (eight months ago) link

I liked this a lot and look forward to seeing it again, but a lot like Z it felt relatively muted to me on first watch. Just like Z I found myself wanting it to go just a bit further *out there* (funny thing to think during a movie that ends literally at Neptune). The music was good but nothing quite as effective as the Ravel in Z.

Perhaps unfair to compare them since I feel so strongly about the prior film, but I think I actually enjoyed this more than Z after the first watch. I will see this again with my aging father (lol) who is a sci fi nut and hopefully untangle my feelings a bit more.

ryan, Friday, 20 September 2019 22:25 (eight months ago) link

It’s always upsetting to me when movies like this—ambitiously flawed thoughtful and personal, lyrical, adult—are handled poorly and then bomb—which this will. Every great movie is a miracle but it feels like we could have movies like this pretty regularly.

Also: no idea why 2001 is being metioned with this...the real comparison is Soderbergh’s Solaris.

ryan, Friday, 20 September 2019 22:30 (eight months ago) link

I enjoyed this, wasn't totally blown away by it. It's too facile to say "Terence Malick's Apocalypse Now," but I can't shake the phrase. The moon chase and space critters were weird side roads to take, and Natasha Lyonne's cameo was a lol.

There was a shitload of Movie Science in this picture.

WmC, Saturday, 21 September 2019 01:14 (eight months ago) link

it sounds interesting, hearing about it makes me think of High Life, but I guess this has more action

Dan S, Saturday, 21 September 2019 01:23 (eight months ago) link

Just saw. Really enjoyed this, need to think about it. Kinda wanna see it again.

Lactose Shaolin Wanker (Raymond Cummings), Saturday, 21 September 2019 01:35 (eight months ago) link

It's interesting to reflect on the fact that the reserved emotional nature of these last two films is both text and subtext...both are about men with an inability to have intimacy, inhabiting movies that keep us at arm's length (Ad Astra *talks about* feelings, but only in the negative)...but what's particularly intriguing to me is that they see masculinity itself as a kind of woundedness, or a way to cope with being wounded, a survival strategy or search for security that's enormously empathetic and not really interested in scoring cheap shots against "toxic masculinity" so much as it is concerned about charting a way through masculinity towards something...more yielding.

ryan, Saturday, 21 September 2019 02:20 (eight months ago) link

The story of how Natasha Lyonne ended up in this movie is so very... Natasha Lyonne: https://slate.com/culture/2019/09/natasha-lyonne-ad-astra-cameo-explained-james-gray.html

I love her.

Roz, Saturday, 21 September 2019 02:48 (eight months ago) link

This was impeccably crafted but I get very annoyed when science fiction that is touted as “adult” or “thoughtful” ends up just being more warmed-over Oedipal dreariness.

Conceptualize Wyverns (latebloomer), Sunday, 22 September 2019 02:38 (eight months ago) link

Space travel: it’s just an elaborate form of therapy where you learn how to process your feelings about dad

Conceptualize Wyverns (latebloomer), Sunday, 22 September 2019 02:43 (eight months ago) link

“Just open up a little, dude. Enjoy some coffee, talk to your wife.” Ok, great. Why did we have to go to fucking space to learn this?

What a bunch of bourgeois horse manure. Urgh.

Very pretty movie though

Conceptualize Wyverns (latebloomer), Sunday, 22 September 2019 03:08 (eight months ago) link

I think this would have been more interesting if was from the perspective of TLJ’s character. If we’re gonna dive into the emptiness of the cosmos and the need for humans to appreciate our precious, fleeting existence and learn to live with one another (or whatever this movie thinks it’s saying), then make the story about a character who would actually care about this one way or another. Brad Pitt’s character doesn’t care about anything except doing his mission and reconnecting with daddy. (Yeah, he learns to lighten up a bit at the end, but so what).

We should be able to feel the horror of someone finding out that this search has been pointless. That’s the real story here, but the movie is too chickenshit to deal with it directly.

Conceptualize Wyverns (latebloomer), Sunday, 22 September 2019 04:20 (eight months ago) link

#ReleasetheGrayCut

Frederik B, Thursday, 26 December 2019 22:41 (five months ago) link

supposedly the stupid action scenes were all in the original; the later cut added the narration and removed footage from non-brad pitt characters.

wasdnuos (abanana), Thursday, 26 December 2019 23:40 (five months ago) link

lol, this was stunningly dumb and i almost quit but then SPACE MONKEYS and that was the one hat tip too many to suggest that everyone's fully aware they're on their bullshit. the "plot" hit really really close to home with my own daddy issues but come the fuck on with these metaphors. As a weird take on 40's/50's sci-fi, okay but why?

Obvs the visuals and effects (including Pitt in full on Keanu uncarved block mode and TL Jones as old man skeletor who never loved you) were outrageously good, mostly enough to keep me engaged when I wasn't shaking my head at the nonsense in general.

my opinion lies somewhere between latebloomers "impeccably crafted bourgie horseshit" and Fred's "i love that it just dives headfirst into banality." I'd likely need to watch it again to clarify but you've got to be kidding me, there is no way i'm watching this madness twice in a world so filled with other things to do.

I genuinely started laughing at the mars recording studio... with red rock baffles!
http://www.indiewire.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/10418278a.jpg

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 28 December 2019 16:04 (five months ago) link

i do wish i'd seen it in theaters if i was gonna see it.... that made gravity a fun watch and it likely woulda helped this. I woulda likely nodded off at the end regardless.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 28 December 2019 16:07 (five months ago) link

killer soundtrack tho! will listen again.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 28 December 2019 16:07 (five months ago) link

the space baboons were lab animals from Earth, no one else is saying anything different, right

"a world so filled with other things to do" is a strange concept in an era when ppl are watching last summer's Tarantella movie 5+ times

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 28 December 2019 16:09 (five months ago) link

Those were space monkeys; I am willing to stake my reputation on it.

It’s very rare that I do an immediate rewatch of any film; I could see trying this again if it were in theaters in maybe, oh, five years.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 28 December 2019 16:35 (five months ago) link

last year's Tarantino movie is 10x better than this was, jesus.

akm, Sunday, 29 December 2019 01:30 (five months ago) link

akm otm

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Sunday, 29 December 2019 02:36 (five months ago) link

i'll assume youre wrong

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 29 December 2019 06:50 (five months ago) link

I'll take a self-indulgent/butchered by the studios mess by a good director over anything fucking Tootsie Tarantino does 4eva!

calzino, Sunday, 29 December 2019 07:18 (five months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Kinda got overlooked I like this movie quite a bit for what it was, Hollywood outer space pop psych... Sound design was fantastic.

flappy bird, Tuesday, 14 January 2020 05:33 (four months ago) link

Finally got around to this - a bit ponderous but ultimately solid. Of the nu-ratpack space movies was definitely the best or, at least, the one with the most ideas and best visual + sound design.

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 14 January 2020 16:45 (four months ago) link

yeah i liked this a lot more than i expected to

que pasa picasso (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 14 January 2020 16:46 (four months ago) link

seemed to draw from various New Wave sf deconstructions of the space program - Moorcock's Black Corridor, various Malzberg books (Beyond Apollo, etc.), but I think Morbz is also correct about the debt to Westerns

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 14 January 2020 17:11 (four months ago) link

two weeks pass...

just saw this, it was phenomenally stupid. I liked the way it paid the smallest attention to some aspects of physics but completely fucked up almost everything else. Praise for being one of the rare vacuum-is-silent brigade, though.
Voiceover was terrible and ponderous. Pitt's line deliveries also often unintentionally funny.
Also like the way when they meet the space baboon they don't even bother looking for the people presumably also on the space station (unless baboon sent the SOS itself because it was bored).
What the fuck did Tommy Lee Jones eat all those years? His station was tiny.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Thursday, 30 January 2020 00:23 (four months ago) link

yes, worst movie I saw last year by some distance.

akm, Thursday, 30 January 2020 00:30 (four months ago) link

nice to read wrongness

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 30 January 2020 00:50 (four months ago) link

It looked nice and I think there’s a seed of a good movie there, but yeah, it is not great. B-rate Malick voiceovers maybe a big part of what dropped it.

circa1916, Thursday, 30 January 2020 02:06 (four months ago) link

Gray >> Malick this decade

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 30 January 2020 02:29 (four months ago) link

indubitably

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 30 January 2020 02:31 (four months ago) link

I want a panel show with Morbs and Alfred now

babu frik fan account (mh), Thursday, 30 January 2020 03:20 (four months ago) link

pay us!

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 30 January 2020 03:21 (four months ago) link

He and I meet in Manhattan twice a year.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 30 January 2020 03:21 (four months ago) link

lol

I'm behind on 2019 films, but I've put this at the top of my cue

Dan S, Thursday, 30 January 2020 03:24 (four months ago) link

the Morbs-Lord Sotosyn doc?

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 30 January 2020 03:25 (four months ago) link

I'd make all my film-loving (hating?) friends throw a pittance at a patreon

I've got a dozen or so

babu frik fan account (mh), Thursday, 30 January 2020 03:26 (four months ago) link

He and I meet in Manhattan twice a year.

― TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, January 29, 2020 8:21 PM (five minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

i'd buy tickets to this

gbx, Thursday, 30 January 2020 03:28 (four months ago) link

I am going to choose to read that as a tryst

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Thursday, 30 January 2020 04:08 (four months ago) link

no, my hair isn't good enough for him

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 30 January 2020 04:13 (four months ago) link

I mean, I know the fans here want this to be something with fucking, but I just want pure snark. Which is dirtier tbh

babu frik fan account (mh), Thursday, 30 January 2020 04:18 (four months ago) link

ad astra - visually stunning, some great scenes, some of the most heavy-handed "meaningfulness" i've ever seen in a movie (e.g. when brad and his dad are clinging to each other in space at the end and tommy lee jones says "you have to let me go" and a big blinking neon subtitle comes up that says HE DOESN'T JUST MEAN PHYSICALLY LET HIM GO HE ALSO MEANS EMOTIONALLY as tommy lee jones winks at the camera), overall pretty dumb and a step down from lost city of z

na (NA), Thursday, 30 January 2020 15:52 (four months ago) link

(e.g. when brad and his dad are clinging to each other in space at the end and tommy lee jones says "you have to let me go" and a big blinking neon subtitle comes up that says HE DOESN'T JUST MEAN PHYSICALLY LET HIM GO HE ALSO MEANS EMOTIONALLY as tommy lee jones winks at the camera)

lol yes, this gave me a severe pain

Miami weisse (WmC), Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:06 (four months ago) link

lol @ neon subtitle

babu frik fan account (mh), Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:13 (four months ago) link

I am not afraid to admit that I enjoy a movie where there is SPACEYELLING at SPACEDAD

also SPACE APES

Οὖτις, Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:22 (four months ago) link

and of course SPACE MADNESS

Οὖτις, Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:23 (four months ago) link

ad astra - visually stunning, some great scenes, some of the most heavy-handed "meaningfulness" i've ever seen in a movie (e.g. when brad and his dad are clinging to each other in space at the end and tommy lee jones says "you have to let me go" and a big blinking neon subtitle comes up that says HE DOESN'T JUST MEAN PHYSICALLY LET HIM GO HE ALSO MEANS EMOTIONALLY as tommy lee jones winks at the camera), overall pretty dumb and a step down from lost city of z

― na (NA), Thursday, January 30, 2020 8:52 AM (thirty minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

this is basically otm, even though i am generally pretty lenient when it comes to visually stunning space movies

maybe i should see lost city of z??

gbx, Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:31 (four months ago) link

yes you should

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:32 (four months ago) link

yes!!

bold caucasian eroticism (Simon H.), Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:32 (four months ago) link

thirded

babu frik fan account (mh), Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:32 (four months ago) link

n/a's right, and Ad Astra is certainly his weakest film, but the visual and sound design and Pitt and the staging of the violence more than compensanted.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 30 January 2020 16:33 (four months ago) link

three weeks pass...

I didn’t hate it. It’s no Silent Running, though.

El Tomboto, Monday, 24 February 2020 22:25 (three months ago) link

What is?

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 24 February 2020 22:29 (three months ago) link

Could’ve also gone for scratching the AstroKurtz crap and just enjoying a lunar Mad Max movie.

El Tomboto, Monday, 24 February 2020 22:29 (three months ago) link

more Pop-timist

for Doug Trumbull + Pitt ya got Tree of Life

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 25 February 2020 01:19 (three months ago) link

one month passes...

cynical me is getting much better at watching stuff uncynically and I really liked this as a result

ole uncle tiktok (darraghmac), Saturday, 28 March 2020 17:36 (two months ago) link


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