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
Ant-Man is still a corny title, but it’s a good movie. Funny, with a pretty good story behind it. Entertaining with good acting and just enough mystery to keep you interested. Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym gives a believable performance as a scientist and creator of a suit that allows the wearer to transform to the size of an ant, keeping the dominion of man over animals and the ability to go in and out of this size as often as necessary. Believing his shrinking technology is extremely dangerous, he vows to suppress it as long he’s alive. Dr. Pym who was a S.H.I.E.L.D. employee when he developed the suit has since build his own company, but has been forced out by his rival Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), a former protégé who wants to use the technology for evil. Since Dr. Pym has never admitted his shrinking technology exists, Cross has been working to create a similar suit called Yellowjacket he eventually reveals to a horrified Dr. Pym. Working between the two men is Dr. Pym’s estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) who doesn’t know why her father detached himself from her most of his life but continues to work for his former company beside Cross. Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has quite a story himself, having been a brilliant thief with a Masters in Computer Science, a daughter, a divorce and a prison record. Through manipulation by Dr. Pym, Scott becomes Ant-Man and the journey begins. Hydra gets involved and The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) makes an appearance to add to the excitement. For Ant-Man, the focus stays on his daughter Cassie Lang (Abby Ryder Fortson). I liked the way different species of ants were defined and what their jobs were. Overall, I think Ant-man was great. BTW: I saw it in Real 3D which I don’t think was all that necessary.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged abby ryder fortson, ant-man, anthony mackie, cassie, corey stoll, darren cross, dr. hank pym, evangeline lilly, hope van dyne, hydra, michael douglas, paul rudd, s.h.i.e.l.d., scott lang, the falcon, yellowjacket
The Strain is only 1 season down but is a pretty good one. It’s a little different as a horror/sci-fi series because it has a little of many horror characters rolled into one or two characters. I couldn’t decide if the main monster was a vampire, zombie or the devil himself. It all starts when a Boeing 767, on its way across the tarmac, stops at JFK then goes totally silent. The engines are shut down, the belly of the plane is cold and there are no communications from anyone inside the plane, including the pilot and co-pilot. Every organization known to the USA was brought in to investigate, including Corey Stoll who plays Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the Center for Disease Control ( CDC) Canary Team in New York City. After entering the plane, the team is able to determine, via ultra violet light, that some sort of bacteria was all over the plane and all but 4 passengers were dead. The plot thickens from here and the mystery begins to unfold. There is plenty of territorial fighting among the different agencies jockeying for position. There is also a warning from an unlikely source that gets ignored but later picked up as the plot developes. I’m trying not to give away too much of the story away because it is pretty good and the element of surprise puts the suspense where it belongs. The Strain airs of the FX channel and I think it is different enough to hold your attention. Check it out!
Posted in Action, Dramas, Horror/monsters, LOCAL TV & CABLE CRITIQUES, SciFi/Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery
Tagged 767, cdc, corey stoll, devil, dr ephraim goodweath, fx, new york city, plane, the strain, vampire, zombies