Space

The Best Short Films

Waltz for One from INTELLECTUAL PROPAGANDA on Vimeo. Why Watch? A shrill emergency buzzer is the last thing you want to hear while floating in orbit around the Earth inside a tin can. You’ll get to know that beeping bastard well in John Merizalde‘s latest work. The director, alongside his Intellectual Propaganda team have joined in the stunning tradition of Kubrick and Tarkovsky and Moon to craft a disturbing, absolutely gorgeous film about the solitude of space. It was co-written by Takashi Doscher, who should be familiar if you read this column regularly. It’s more proof that he (and that particular production house) are talents to keep a very close eye on. Check out more of his work here. What will it cost? Only 10 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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The found fauxtage superhero flick Chronicle comes out next week, but Max Landis has already lined up his next project over at Disney. According to Variety, The Mouse has taken the bait on a space adventure from the writer. Not only is it untitled (or without a title they can release at least), there’s also essentially no information on it at all. It involves a brother and sister going through an emotional journey. And there’s space. From that, it’s easy to assume that it will be science fiction on a large scale. What’s interesting is that Disney seems to be putting healthy stock in the final frontier and science fiction – with John Carter trying to become a Spring fixture this year, the video game-inspired Wreck-It Ralph, and this new project in the works. It’ll be interesting to see if they stick with the sci-fi tilt and truly move ahead with more Tron movies. They’ve made confidence announcements, sure, but it remains to be seen whether sequels will survive the development process. That’s not to say that they aren’t placing their narrative bets on other genres. They have Frankenweenie and The Odd Life of Timothy Green coming out this year – a Gothic coming-of-age tale and the organic version of a test tube baby story respectively. Beyond that, they’re supplementing with 3D re-releases of Beauty and the Beast and Finding Nemo this year. Hopefully they can take the money made by converting and shipping reels to theaters and invest it […]

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“APOCALYPSE 2388. Earth is on the brink of extinction. Legendary explorer KURTZ has been sent on a desperate last bid mission to scout an unknown planet on the far side of the universe. A planet that may sustain human life. Butcommunication with Kurtz mysteriously ceases and rookie flight officer MARLOW is assigned the perilous task of completing the objective. Tracking Kurtz into the unknown he reaches it. A new earth. And a race of beings at the dawn of time. But Kurtz has his own plans for the new world and man’s last hope for survival. And to achieve it he will take man to the only place that will protect paradise. Into darkness.” That’s the synopsis for Into Darkness (via CHUD), a new film from Haunting in Connecticut director Peter Cornwell which is an adaptation of “Heart of Darkness” set in the dark beyond of space. Because the world was aching for it. The concept sounds moronic, but it’s a sci-fi version of what’s happening with Jane Austen and zombies. Whereas Francis Ford Coppola took the novel and set it in a modern context of Vietnam to reinvigorate its meaning, Cornwell and company plan on shooting the thing into a contextless void where we can’t directly relate the struggle to something real. That plan seems even more silly considering that most great science fiction is set in space as its own metaphor for what’s going on in real life – not built by placing a metaphor inside of another […]

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Culture Warrior

From the second half of the twentieth century onward, our view of NASA and its associated lore in movies have been inseparable. The astronaut, a uniquely American frontier hero whose myth and iconography made them the cowboy of the second half of the 20th century, has a position in our cultural memory that is inseparable from cinematic imagination. From pre-moon landing science fiction that dreamed of potential encounters with distant worlds through an organized space program (Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey) to reenactments of history celebrating the space program and the individuals involved (The Right Stuff, Apollo 13) to NASA/moon landing documentaries (For All Mankind, In the Shadow of the Moon) to later, more divergent science-fiction films that have emerged since the prominence of NASA has lessened (Armageddon and so on), NASA, space exploration, the moon landing, and its imagined associations have retained a prominent place in cinematic mythmaking prompted by continued fascination with the frontier of space and humanity’s place in it. Hell, we’ve wondered about the moon since the beginning of cinema. That our collective experience of space in both fiction (i.e., narrative cinema) and non-fiction has been via the moving image (i.e., watching the moon landing on TV) is perhaps what most thoroughly cements this porous association between NASA and its cinematic myth.

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #20): “Elegy” (airdate 2/19/60) The Plot: A few astronauts land on a planet where no one moves a muscle. The Goods: A spiritual cousin to the very first episode of the series, instead of one man stranded in a world without people, three astronauts land on an Earth-like planet where there are people, places and even farm dogs. Mysteriously, either these common nouns are all tied for Most Realistic Statue or they’re all trying to do their best Marcel Marceau impression. Things look idyllic, but everyone is idle. A woman is perpetually being crowned as a local beauty queen; a bearded gent is forever being named the new mayor; and one man alone sneaks his way through the unmoving masses to spy on our adventurers and to withhold an explanation for what’s going on.

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Why Watch? Because the things of this universe will steal the breath right out of your lungs. This experimental piece instantly became a favorite because it combines still and moving imagery from the NASA Cassini Mission with the music of Nine Inch Nails, and it’s edited together with keen understanding. The music and the vast nothingness make for a heavy, somber feeling, but the grandiose nature of what’s filling the void is something triumphant and brimming with cosmic importance. It, at once, reminds us that we’re small and of what something small can do. We can travel out into the blackness of the universe and bring back its beauty. What does it cost? Just 2 minute of your time. Check out Cassini Mission for yourself:

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The game of Asteroids and Roland Emmerich‘s career have something in common: they both consist solely of sitting in the middle of the action and blowing things up. Thus, it seems more than fitting that he would be asked to direct a feature adaptation of the Atari favorite. According to Vulture, Asteroids is being put together by Universal and uber producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and they’ve asked Emmerich to destroy giant space rocks in his post-destroying Earth phase. Even purists and game fanatics can’t complain too much here, right? There’s no plot to the game. It could be the dumbest action movie of all time and still stay true to its subject matter (except for those who spent lonely nights coming up with stories about whomever was sitting in the 8-bit ship. This is cinematic obviousness, and it can only lead to greatness. Either Emmerich accepts, and we can expect more explosions, or he turns it down and proves that he really is over giant pyrotechnics. As for plot, the story is about Earth people who have been relegated to living in an asteroid belt after the Earth’s destruction. They see their neighborhood non-Earthlings as friendly, but soon learn that it was actually their film’s director those non-Earthlings that blew up the planet. That’s dramatic irony. This thing is Shakespearean already! Emmerich is perfect.

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The found footage horror craze is a bit exhausting, mostly because of its limitations. However, it’s the limitations of Apollo 18 that most excite. Most notably? A lack of room to move around in. The two astronauts are either in a small craft or walking around in the prison of their spacesuits. They won’t be able to go far, which means they won’t be able to avoid the danger. From the looks of the trailer, danger definitely comes to them. Check it out for yourself alongside the 5 things you should be afraid of in space:

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; it’s a miracle! This is the weekly column wherein I gleefully besmirch the good name of Film School Rejects by loving up a truly terrible film right before the innocent, impressionable eyes of their readers. I will pick apart exactly what makes the film so stinky and also why I would gladly bask in its pungent aroma. Sound appetizing yet? Well wait until you get to act three! That’s where I pair the film with an appropriate snack food designed to unfavorably affect your physique in the same fashion in which the film affects your brain. Today’s film is the universally awful Flash Gordon.

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WesAndersonSpace

So Wes Anderson wants to film in space eh? We didn’t think he was serious either, but we ran some numbers just in case.

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SomebreroGalaxy

Take a journey through our Universe in glorious high definition and get your nerd on with this awesome History Channel series.

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startrekfight

In seeking out an allegory for Star Trek 2, wouldn’t it be nice if they left leftist politics and the subject of torture alone? You said, yes? You may not want to read this then.

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asteroids

So you make a completely original space story about two brothers who fly spaceships and blow things up and call it Asteroids? Does that really count as an adaptation? Can you adapt a game with zero story to it? What exactly are you adapting? Why does my head hurt?

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bp-notinspace

The darkness of Robert Fure’s soul can only be measured by the darkest depths of space. And even though he loved Star Trek, he still found a way to get angry about space movies this week.

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Warner Brothers Picks Up Hyperion Cantos

Warner Brothers has picked up the rights to the Hyperion Cantos series of books by award winning author Dan Simmons. Producer Graham King has had the rights for some time, but the complex nature of the Hyperion series made it difficult to move forward.

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Aliens Vs. Predator 3

With 40+ million domestically and nearly 130million internationally, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem hit the Cha-Ching button towards sequel-ville.

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