Outer space drama Gravity is showing no signs of coming back down to Earth after it topped the U.K. box office chart for a second consecutive week. The movie, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as two astronauts cut adrift following an accident, took $7.2 million (£4.8 million) over the weekend (15-18Nov13) to remain in the number one spot.
Last week's (ends15Nov13) runner-up, Thor: The Dark World, was also a non-mover with $2.6 million (£1.7 million), and British drama Philomena held on to third place with $1.5 million (£1 million).
New release The Counselor came fourth in the countdown, with $1.2 million (£815,000), and The Butler debuted in fifth with $1.2 million (£794,000).
Tom Hanks, possibly the most well-liked actor in Hollywood, has spent much of his career acting in period pieces that deal with important or pivotal moments in history, and his latest film, Captain Phillips, is no exception. In it, Hanks plays Richard Phillips, whose freighter is hijacked by Somalian pirates, and after that, he will play Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks.
With Captain Phillips in theaters this week and another historical film on his plate, we got to thinking about all of the eras of history that Hanks has appeared in and the ways he has presented these important historical events in order to get the most powerful reaction from audiences.
The Da Vinci Code - Biblical You know the story of Jesus Christ, right? Well, think again, because Hanks is here to present a slightly different version of events. While the film itself takes place in modern day Europe, the plot of The Da Vinci Code has to do with a conspiracy theory that the church has hidden Jesus' marriage to Mary Magdalene. Both the movie and the novel it's based on caused a great deal of controversy, and it's a testament to Hanks' likability that he was able to make a film contradicting what everyone believes to be true about Jesus and make it out unscathed.
The Green Mile - 1930s As corrections officer Paul Edgecomb in 1930s Louisiana, Hanks befriends John Coffey, a kind, gentle man on death row, played by Michael Clarke Duncan. If you haven't started crying simply from reading that description, you are obviously less susceptible to Hanks' charms than the rest of us. While many films have been made about similar subjects, both Hanks and Duncan give performances that turn a tragic friendship into a devastating movie-going experience, by using the film to showcase the issues of race relations in the pre-Civil War South.
Saving Private Ryan - World War IIHow do you make a film about World War II, already and incredibly emotional subject, even more powerful? By having Tom Hanks lead a company of soldiers tasked with finding and rescuing a paratrooper who has gone missing in action. And if that's not enough to get you, they are forced to go on this mission immediately after fighting on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Becuase when Hanks makes a film about one of the most devastating periods in history, he makes sure that there won't be a dry eye in the theater.
Apollo 13 - Space Race Surely, you must be thinking, there's no way to make audiences cry over the Space Race? Well, Hanks managed to find one. In Apollo 13, Hanks and his crew are trapped in a space shuttle when their mission goes wrong, and they must try and make it hope safely. Not only does Hanks manage to make being an astronaut seem like both the most awesome and the most dangerous profession of all time, but the focus on the people these astronauts have left back on the ground adds to the film's tension and emotional center.
Forrest Gump - Vietnam WarForrest Gump might be Hanks' most famous film, but it's also the epitome of his adventures through history. Over the course of the film, Forrest meets John F. Kennedy, inspires John Lennon to write "Imagine" and reports the Watergate break-in. However, it's the film’s treatment of the Vietnam War that is the most affecting. Having to watch Forrest, one of the kindest, most well-intentioned people in movies witness the death of one of his best friends and the emotional breakdown of the other is almost powerful enough to make viewers want to join an anti-war rally themselves.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - September 11thIt's not difficult for Americans to conjure up strong emotions about the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, so it's almost fitting that Hanks only briefly appears in the film, which focuses instead on the character's son, Oskar. That’s right: Hanks has gotten so adept at making audiences cry that he doesn’t even have to be present to do so.
Captain Phillips - 2009 Somali Pirate AttacksHanks' most recent film is set to be a powerful, emotional thrill ride. But Hanks isn't just content with showing the harrowing and courageous experiences of Capt. Richard Phillips, as the film also works to show the Somali pirates as human beings rather than just cartoon villains, and he's so good at playing with audience's emotions that he can help to make the antagonists of the piece sympathetic. However, this film also got us thinking: if Hanks is mining the recent past for historical events to make movies out of, how much longer will it be before he starts making us cry over events from the future? Or has it started already?
Warner Bros. Pictures
It seems that every entertainment journalist had the same idea–ask real life astronauts what they thought about Gravity. From small-town heroes to space celebs, it seems that every astronaut who has so much as simulated space travel has seen the movie, and they're being vocal about their opinions. While most pointed out errors, the majority were able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride. The movie stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, and it's received a lot of buzz for its stunning portrayal of space. For your convenience, here's a collection of the best quotes from astronauts.
Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, did a review for The Hollywood Reporter. "I was so extravagantly impressed by the portrayal of the reality of zero gravity...We were probably not as lighthearted as Clooney and Sandra Bullock."
CNN interviewed astronaut Michael Massimino, who has been in space twice and was the inspiration for Clooney's character. "I was really excited when I saw the accuracy of my telescope, payload bay, and tools. I wasn't really looking at Sandra Bullock at all. Sorry. I recognized my wire cutter."
Six-time space-walker Leroy Chiao wrote a review for SPACE.com."Let me start by saying that "Gravity," as most of us in the business expected, is full of big inaccuracies, starting with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, who are way too good-looking to be astronauts. I enjoyed the film, but if viewers will set aside, for 90 minutes, the big technical and operational inaccuracies (of which there are many), they will be entertained."
Vulture spoke to Scott Parazynski, an experienced astronaut with many space walks under his belt."I got a little homesick for being in space, actually!...It's the greatest job in the universe."
Astronaut Sherwan Spring was interviewed by U-T San Diego."You wouldn't want to show it to a physics class because of some of the inaccuracies. But I can see where the movie could become a cult classic."
Marsha Ivins, who has spent around 55 days in space, wrote a mostly negative review for TIME. "Watching Gravity, I found myself cycling between appreciation and cringing, almost in time with the action."Scientific American talked to the inspiration behind Bullock's character, astronaut Cady Coleman."I really felt that it brought people to space in both an emotional and a physical way."
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney's new space drama GRAVITY has been given a big boost by the second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin. The real-life astronaut tells The Hollywood Reporter that the film is "remarkable".
In a brief review of the movie, Aldrin writes, "I was so extravagantly impressed by the portrayal of the reality of zero gravity.
"I was happy to see someone moving around the spacecraft the way George Clooney was. It really points out the degree of confusion and bumping into people, and when the tether gets caught, you're going to be pulled - I think the simulation of the dynamics was remarkable."
As far as whether Clooney and Bullock were believable as astronauts in the film, Aldrin adds, "We were probably not as lighthearted as Clooney and Sandra Bullock. We didn't tell too many jokes when people were in some position of jeopardy outside the spacecraft."
His only criticism: "This movie gave great clarity to looking down and seeing the features of Earth... but there weren't enough clouds, and maybe there was too precise a delineation from space."
Bob Geldof is well on his way to becoming the first Irishman in space after successfully completing his first training mission. The veteran rocker paid out $100,000 (£66,600) on a ticket for a seat on the inaugural Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) commercial flight next year (14), and he is undergoing a gruelling training regime to get in shape for the launch.
Geldof has been working with astronauts in the Netherlands, and had his first experience with a space flight simulator on Thursday (26Sep13).
Pictures from the training day show the 61-year-old Boomtown Rats frontman strapped into the simulator wearing a suit with an Irish flag motif on the left shoulder.
Trumpet soloist Alison Balsom has made history after becoming the first British woman to take home the Artist of the Year honour at the 2013 Gramophone Classical Music Awards. The 34-year-old musician picked up the prestigious prize at a ceremony in London on Tuesday (17Sep13) and she is grateful to fans for voting for her.
She says, "I'm so thrilled. I could not think of a better way to end the best summer of my life than to receive this hugely prestigious honour. I am enjoying making music more than ever at the moment and to be praised for it by the Gramophone Classical Music Awards and by everyone who kindly voted for me is simply more than I could ask for."
Other winners at the event included violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who landed Recording of the Year for Seven, a tribute album in memory of the astronauts who perished in a NASA space shuttle tragedy in 2003, and veteran guitarist Julian Bream, who was presented with a lifetime achievement accolade.
Sandra Bullock's young son bonded with George Clooney on the set of the stars' new movie Gravity, and often ditched his mother to spend "man time" with the Hollywood hunk. The actress brought her three-year-old son to the set of filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron's new sci-fi film, in which she and Clooney play astronauts in space, and admits her little boy took a liking to her co-star.
She says, "My son thinks he's (Clooney) a very cool dude. If there's a choice between me, George and Alfonso, my son will leave me to be with George and these guys."
Single mum Bullock, who adopted Louis in 2010, admits her son has been bonding with a number of her A-list pals.
Speaking at a press conference at Canada's Toronto International Film Festival, she adds, "He's a boy's boy, so he has to go talk to the men. The cute little anecdote is that he went to me and said, 'Where's George and (Cindy Crawford's husband) Rande (Gerber)?' I said, 'I don't know!' And he said, 'I need them.' So we went and found them, and they had man time. And I sort of stood off to the side and waited for them to finish. Then I was allowed to take him back."
"They were incredibly helpful, and they gave me an inside visual as to why they do what they do. It was the craziest, most bizarre, and most challenging shoot I've ever done." Sandra Bullock on training with astronauts as she researched her new role as an outer-space medical officer in new film Gravity, which opened the Venice Film Festival in Italy on Wednesday (28Aug13).
Although we may look up at the stars in wonder, space can actually be a very scary place. In this terrifyingly awesome trailer for Gravity, director Alfonso Cuarón attempts to destroy any childhood dreams you once had of becoming an astronaut.
The film stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (and only Bullock and Clooney) as astronauts on a space shuttle mission that turns catastrophic. Space debris forces them to detach from the shuttle, leaving them completely stranded and running out of oxygen.
In case you didn't notice, the trailer is one continuous shot. In fact, the first 20 minutes of the film is a single extended take, just to heighten to the fear of what it would be like to helplessly drift further and further into the infinite darkness. Gravity is set to open the Venice Film Festival on August 28, and will be released in theaters on October 4.
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