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!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged apollo 11, ben owen, brian d'arcy james, buzz aldrin, christopher abbott, christopher c kraft jr, ciaran hinds, claire foy, corey stoll, cory michael smith, david scott, deke slayton, ed white, elliot see, ethan embry, first man, gemini, gil scott-heron, guenter wendt, gus grissom, janet shearson, jason clarke, jd evermore, jim lovell, john david whalen, john glenn, john hodge, joseph a walker, kris swanberg, kyle chandler, leon bridges, lukas haas, marilyn see, mercury seven, mercury seven astronauts, michael collins, nasa, neil armstrong, olivia hamilton, Pablo Schreiber, patricia white, patrick fugit, pete conrad, richard f gordon jr, robert r gilruth, roger b chaffee, ryan gosling, shawn eric jones, shea whigham, skyler bible, steven coulter, wally schirra, x-15
The Crown is a biographical drama streaming on Netflix, created and principally written by Peter Morgan and produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television for Netflix. The Crown evolved out of Morgan’s 2006 film The Queen and 2013’s stage play, The Audience. The Crown tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II, who reigns in the United Kingdom.
The first season covers the period from Elizabeth’s (Claire Foy) marriage to Philip (Matt Smith) in 1947 to the disintegration of her sister Margaret’s (Vanessa Kirby) engagement in 1955. Also covered in season 1 is the depiction of Winston Churchill (John Lithgow) resigning as Prime Minister and the monarchy’s denial to Princess Margaret’s request to marry Peter Townsend (Ben Miles), a divorcé. I tried to watch The Crown but didn’t care for the story or the acting. After hearing many mentions of The Crown and how good it was, I tried again, almost 2 years later, and binged watched seasons 1 and 2. I liked it very much, especially when I realized it was about the current reigning Queen of England. I had just watched the royal wedding between Prince William and Meghan Markle a few weeks earlier and could now relate to all the royal subjects.
The second season covers the period from the Suez Crisis in 1956 through the retirement of the Queen’s third Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan (Anton Lesser) in 1963 to the birth of Prince Edward in 1964. Also covered in season 2, is The Profumo affair, a political scandal,
Beginning with season 3, Olivia Colman will portray the Queen. Season 3 will also cover Harold Wilson’s time as Prime Minister, and will also include Princess Margaret’s five-year affair with baronet and gardening expert Roddy Llewellyn that leads to the Princess’s divorce from Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1978. It will also introduce Camilla Parker Bowles and Lady Diana Spencer, who will be a focus of the fourth season (set during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership). The third season will continue from 1964, covering Harold Wilson’s two terms as the Prime Minister until 1976, while the fourth will see Margaret Thatcher’s premiership and a focus on Diana, Princess of Wales.
The Crown is intended to last 60 episodes over six seasons, with 10 one-hour episodes per season, covering Elizabeth’s life from her younger years to her reign, and with new actors being cast every 2 seasons. For the third and fourth seasons, Olivia Colman will take over as the Queen, Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. Filming for the series takes place at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, with location shooting throughout the United Kingdom and internationally.
At times, some episodes of the Crown is a little slow but interesting enough to stick with the series. I’ve changed by opinion about the acting as it got better and better as the series progressed. I’m looking forward to season 3 through 6. I feel as though I have had an intermate history course in the Monarchy as well as how England operates politically. So far, I’m enjoying The Crown and recommend it to those who are into a historic look at the real Monarchy. The Crown is currently streaming on Netflix — check it out!
Posted in STREAMING
Tagged anton lesser, antony armstrong-jones, ben miles, camilia parker bowles, claire foy, harold macmillan, helena bonham carter, john lithow, lady diana spencer, margaret thatcher, matt smith, olivia colman, peter townsend, philip, princess margaret, queen elizabeth II, roddy llewellyn, the crown, tobias menzies, vanessa kirby, winston churchill