Basic Science – 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT

Posted in Basic Science Segment, Contributor: Ray, Sci-Fi Movie Review with tags , , on October 27, 2011 by raywagner

This month, we’ll shine the spotlight on a pair of films that can only be described as a collective win for movie science – 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact2001 of course, needs no introduction: it’s long been heralded as a high water mark in cinema, and its 1968 release helped  cement the auteur status of director Stanley Kubrick.  Recently, however, I found myself in a lecture with an audience much more interested in spaceflight mechanics than filmmaking, and an offhand comment from the old NASA salt leading the discussion piqued my interest.  He billed 2001 as the most accurate space movie ever made, so I decided to turn a critical eye in this article to it and its 1984 sequel.

2001, in particular, is such a visual feast that it’s easy to lose sight of how rooted the production is in hard science – though this should come as no surprise, as Kubrick’s co-author, Arthur C. Clarke, was one of the heavy-hitters of 20th Century science fiction.  Clarke himself was a student of real-world space science, suggesting early on that geostationary orbits would be useful for communication satellites and popularizing the concept of a space elevator.  In fact, we need to go back only as far as a landmark series of articles appearing in Collier’s magazine in the early 1950s to find some of Clarke’s and Kubrick’s influences for 2001.  Ostentatiously titled “Man Will Conquer Space Soon!”, it described Apollo Program godfather Wernher Von Braun’s plans for a fully functioning space ecosystem, culminating in a human presence on Mars.  The inaugural article’s illustration in the March 1953 edition of  Collier’s depicts an orbital space station with a striking resemblance to the iconic “wagon wheel” station in 2001.

(l) Von Braun’s space station from Collier’s in 1953, (r) Kubrick’s space station from 2001 in 1968.

Considering that the release of the movie predates the experience gained in the Apollo moon missions, not to mention the first Soviet and American space stations, it’s amazing how accurately 2001 depicts the realities of living  and working in weightlessness, luxuriating in the absolute strangeness of a life where up and down are relative.  Kubrick  maintains an obsessive focus throughout on getting the details right.  Continue reading

Borders Line: Summer Sequels Lead To Box Office Boom

Posted in Movie News on September 1, 2011 by xymarla

Summer 2011 was Franchise City, and Hollywood is reaping the benefits in a big way. The box office success of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Hangover 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Fast Five and Cars 2 has carried this summer into record-breaking numbers, which means we can look forward to Harry Potter: The Retirement Years, The Hangover 7, Transformers: Light of My Life, Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp’s Still Doing It, Fast Fifteen and Cars ‘n’ Trucks: Love On The Racetrack. I can’t WAIT!

Read more over at Badass Digest: http://www.badassdigest.com/2011/09/01/borders-line-summer-sequels-lead-to-box-office-boom

Review: YELLOWBRICKROAD

Posted in Film Review, Horror Movie Review with tags , , on August 18, 2011 by xymarla

YellowBrickRoad caught my interest the moment I saw the eerie trailer, but its theatrical release was limited and I missed it. The film just came out on DVD, and it’s absolutely worth a watch. A confusing, unsettling, frustrating watch.

Read the review over at Badass Digest!

Borders Line: Why Is RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Such A Hit?

Posted in Film Review, Random Tidbits with tags on August 18, 2011 by xymarla

It’s number one at the box office and demonstrating staying power. Critical reception has been largely glowing. Sure, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a breathtaking film that combines spectacular technological achievement with a moving, character-driven story, and it should be a hit. But for the life of me, I still can’t believe that it is.

Read more over at Badass Digest!

Borders Line: It’s Time To Surrender The Multi-Camera Sitcom

Posted in Television Review with tags , , , , , on August 18, 2011 by xymarla

CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL > THE BIG BANG THEORY in quality, humor, originality…in everything except viewers and Emmy nominations.

Read more over at Badass Digest!

Borders Line: Who Else Is Stoked For Heckerling’s VAMPS?

Posted in Movie News with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2011 by xymarla

I’ve been bored with vampires since before being bored with vampires was cool. And yet? I can’t wait for Amy Heckerling’s Vamps. Here’s why: AMY HECKERLING. I simply can’t imagine that Heckerling’s coy, subversive humor won’t serve even the tired paranormal romance trend.

Read more over at Badass Digest!

Borders Line: What’s The Next Big Thing?

Posted in Random Tidbits with tags , , on July 21, 2011 by xymarla

After watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, my friends and I engaged in a discussion regarding what the next massively popular film franchise will be. Captain America should do some solid box office and is a blast by all accounts, and it’s possible that The Avengers could melt our collective faces, but the superhero pool is too crowded and mediocre for any one franchise to carry the day. Twilight is ending. Saw is done. Although I’m certain both parts will be blockbusters, The Hobbit is the last bit of juice we can squeeze from the Lord of the Rings franchise. Someone needs to pull an Old Yeller on Pirates of the Caribbean and emancipate us from Jerry Bruckheimer’s greedy death talons. The Hunger Games has employed inexplicable casting (Lennie Kravitz?!) and the books rapidly decrease in quality after a terrific start, so I can’t imagine it will ignite the public lexicon the way its YA counterparts have.  And everyone always seems to forget that the Narnia movies exist.

Read my predictions for the next huge franchise and give me your own over at Badass Digest!

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