Tag Archives: NASA

Flying Higher and Bolder with First to the Moon

5 Jun

Release Date: June 4,  2019
Available on VOD & DVD on Amazon

Space, the final frontier… The 60s was a time filled with uncertainty. The Vietnam War, civil unrest and a dream—Kennedy promised to put a man on the moon and Russia put a man in space. It was a race to be the First to the Moon.

Director Paul Hildebrandt explains why America had to take chances during the Cold War in order to boldly go where no man has gone before and the result was inspiring. His two-hour documentary covers a lot of ground and has to dwell on the socio-political problems of the time to explain what everyone was facing. Despite a few setbacks, the Apollo mission was still a go and the result is inspiring.

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IMAX A Beautiful Planet, A Review

6 May

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

For the nearest screening near you, please check local listings.

A Beautiful Planet is a gorgeous film that only IMAX can capture. No other film format will do to capture what astronauts behold every day while living in the International Space Station (ISS). Most of the filming was done by those astronauts on their downtime and I suspect they were given minimal direction by writer/editor Toni Myers on what to catch on camera. I loved looking at the life on board this station more instead of looking down upon the planet Earth.

When peering down, weather systems can be examined, the spread of humans upon the continents are better understood (Moscow truly looks like Star City, even though that’s in Moscow Oblast), and the light from these cities is nothing but awe striking. My only nitpick is that when looking at this planet, I did not see much depth to this 3D product. Either my vision is not being perfect or the 3D compositors working on the conversation had no reference to give those scenes the feeling of looking far away real. Some layers of the atmosphere being peeled away as a camera drone entered it would have made for an excellent view. The 3D window to the world that is Earth was kind of flat even though it was rendered in fantastic Ultra 4K. When the type of camera brought aboard the station is a single lens model, the conversion to 3d should not have been done.

The look at the work the astronauts did inside the station to study the affects of living in space leapt at me more.

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Recognizing the Last Man on the Moon, A Documentary

1 Mar

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

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Andy Kaufman is not the only man on the moon. His fame is different though. In the movie The Last Man on the Moon, director Mark Craig recognizes Captain Eugene “Gene” Cernan, the last person who stepped foot upon that ball of luminous glory we see in the sky, waxing and waning in a regular cycle. Some lunar observers say it can influence people’s emotions. In this documentary’s case, it’s the feelings Cernan had in achieving his dreams. He was one of twelve men to be selected to be part of NASA‘s Apollo Space Program (1961 – 1975).

This film is a very personal one for Cernan. These days, he spends his time directing projects to further space exploration and he attends shows to inspire new generations to fly to the moon, but when or if that will happen will depend on NASA getting off their collective ass. These days, perhaps inspired by the movie The Martian, the goal is to reach Mars instead of figuring out a way to establish a lunar colony.

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Flying High with The Martian, A Review

5 Oct

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Just when you think it’s safe to venture back into space after Chris Nolan’s Interstellar, think again. For actor Matt Damon, what was hinted at in one film says too much in what could happen in his next film, The Martian. Maybe the cosmos believes he’s simply a whipping boy. While his range of films have varied in quality over the years, thankfully he continues trudging on. While under the direction of Ridley Scott, he’s very likeable as Mark Watney, a castaway seemingly left for dead on the planet Mars.

The crew hurriedly left the planet because of a massive dust storm, and people at headquarters are at odds over what to do when everyone realizes Watney is still alive. I wondered how this film would work since it can not mirror the Tom Hanks film where he got lost at sea. Much of that did not have him talking to himself. Scott’s script and the book this movie is based on had Watney chronicling his life, so the people from the next mission can learn from his attempts to terraform the planet. He has to in order to survive, because he’s banking on hope that NASA will discover that he’s still alive.

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