Tag Archives: ciaran hinds

FIRST MAN (2018) – My rating: 8.5/10

First Man is a 2018 biographical drama directed by Damien Chazelle and written by Josh Singer. The film is based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen.  Steven Spielberg serves as an executive producer. First Man follows the years leading up to the Apollo 11 mission that was designated to go to the Moon in 1969.  I’ve learned a lot about the NASA program as well as the complex personal life of Neil Armstrong, which was brilliantly preformed.

 

**** SLIGHT SPOILERS BELOW ****

First Man starts out in 1961 with NASA test pilot Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) flying the X-15 rocket plane when it inadvertently bounces off the stratosphere. Although he manages to land the plane in the Mojave Desert, his colleagues express concern that his recent record of mishaps is due to distraction and he is grounded. At this point it is evident that there is something wrong with Neil.  It is revealed shortly that his young daughter, Karen, is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. It is obvious Karen is the apple of his eye and the love of his life.  Desperate to save her, Neil keeps a detailed log of her symptoms and feverishly tries to find possible treatments, but she soon passes on. Distraught, Neil applies for Project Gemini and is accepted to NASA Astronaut Group 2. Neil’s wife Janet (Claire Foy), and their son Rick move to Houston alongside other astronaut families. Neil and Elliot See (Patrick Fugit), another civilian test pilot become friends along with Ed White (Jason Clarke), the first American astronaut to walk in space. As Neil begins training, Deke Slayton (Kyle Chandler) impresses upon the new astronauts the importance of the Gemini program, as the Soviet Union had reached every milestone in the Space Race ahead of the United States. While still in training, Neil and Janet have a second son, Mark.

By 1965, the family has settled in Houston, and Neil awaits selection for a crew. After the Soviets complete the first extravehicular activity (EVA), Neil is informed that he will be the commander of Gemini 8, along with David Scott (Christopher Abbott) as the pilot. Prior to the mission, See and Charles Bassett are killed in a T-38 crash. Armstrong and Scott successfully launch Gemini 8, and dock with the Agena target vehicle, but soon afterward, the spacecraft begins to spin at a rapid rate. After nearly blacking out, Neil activates the RCS thrusters and safely aborts the mission. Armstrong initially faces criticism, but NASA determines the crew is not at fault. Later, Ed White reveals that he has been selected for the Apollo 1 mission along with Gus Grissom (Shea Whigham), one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts and Roger Chaffee (Cory Michael Smith), capsule communicator for the Gemini 3 and Gemini 4 missions, and the third crew member who was killed with Grissom and White in the Apollo 1 pre-launch test.  During a plugs-out test on January 27, 1967, a fire kills the Apollo 1 crew, and Armstrong hears the news while representing NASA at the White House.

I’ve introduced you to a small window of events as depicted by First Man.  Neil Armstrong appears to be a brilliant introverted man who never got over the death of his daughter, Karen, which caused him to become an astronaut in the first place.  Although the events of First Man is history, it’s worth seeing because of it’s 95% accurate accounts of what actually happened.  Many men were killed trying to make the moon walk take place and millions of dollars were spent in a race against time, trying to insure that the United States of American would be first on the moon.  This was an intense movie, brilliantly acted and brilliantly exhibited as the scenes were lifelike and captured the seriousness of the moment.  I liked First Man very much, as it is an epic lesson of historian proportion and I highly recommend it to all.  Kudos to Damien Chazelle for his brilliant direction on First Man.  Check it this one out!

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017) – My rating: 8/10

Justice League is a superhero film based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name consisting of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. The film is directed by Zack Snyder with a screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, from a story by Terrio and Snyder. There are many reasons I’m glad Justice League was created.  I was a very unhappy camper when they decided to kill off Superman, especially by the likes of Batman, who actually has no super powers.  That was the biggest injustice in super hero history, in my opinion.  Justice League redeemed that unfortunate event, which made my day.  I also got to see Aquaman in all his glorious action, which also made my day.  So much eye candy, so little time!  I was well entertained as well.

Thousands of years ago, Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), an alien military officer from Apokolips and his army of Parademons attempted to conquer and remake Earth through the combined energies of three “Mother Boxes”. They were foiled by a unified army that included Olympian Gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, humans, and Green Lanterns. After repelling Steppenwolf’s army, the Mother Boxes were separated and hidden in three locations around the world.

In the present, all the world is in mourning over the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), which has triggered the Mother Boxes to reactivate along with Steppenwolf’s return to Earth in an effort to regain favor with his master, Darkseid.  When Steppenwolf retrieves a Mother Box from Themyscira, Amazonian Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) warns her daughter, Diana Prince / Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), of his return by lighting the invasion fire located in the palace.  As a result, Diana joins Bruce Wayne / Batman (Ben Affleck) in an attempt to unite other Meta-humans.  Bruce Wayne goes after Arthur Curry  / Aquaman (Jason Momoa), a member of the Justice League and heir to the throne of the undersea nation of Atlantis and Barry Allen / Flash (Ezra Miller), also a member of the Justice League and a Central City University student, who can move at superhuman speeds due to his ability to tap into the Speed Force. Diana Prince tries to locate Victor Stone / Cyborg (Ray Fisher), another member of the Justice League and a former college athlete who, after being cybernetically reconstructed after a near fatal car accident, has powers that allow him to fly, turn his arms into cannons, and manipulate technology.  Once the team is assembled, they go into action to keep Steppenwolf from acquiring all three of the Mother Boxes, but fail.  The team receives intel from James Gordon (J. K. Simmons), the Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department and close ally of Batman, leading them to Steppenwolf’s army, based in an abandoned facility under Gotham Harbor.

As usual, I’ve said enough.  The story gets even more interesting and how the Justice League keeps Earth from being destroyed by Steppenwolf is exciting.  Flash and another member of the Justice League have similar powers and are always in competition.  There are many funny scenes, as well as  lots of muscle flexing.  Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) stepped up his role as Bruce Wayne’s butler, chief of security and trusted confidant.  Also Diane Lane reappears as Martha Kent and Amy Adams as Lois Lane.  Justice League is a great super hero film with an all-star cast and a good story to back it up.  I recommend it to all – check it out for yourself!