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."
A week after relinquishing the Dumb and Dumber sequel to Universal, Warner Bros. has slapped us with another wave of nostalgia, albeit a more mysterious, less moronic one.
The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Warner Bros. is finalizing its acquisition of the movie rights to an adaptation of the cherished children’s book series, Encyclopedia Brown. With the studio wrapping up negotations, producers Roy Lee and Howard David Deutsch are now searching for writers to turn author Donald J. Sobol's books into a film and hopefully a franchise.
Enclycopedia Brown is a solve-it-yourself mystery series following intelligent boy detective Leroy Brown (a.k.a. "Encyclopedia") as he solves mysteries out of his garage. The late author wrote 28 books for the series from 1963 until his death in 2012, with about 10 different mysteries per book. Each story is littered with clues to help readers solve the mystery followed by an answers section in the back.
Mysteriously, this isn't the first time Warner Bros. has attempted to bring the series to the silver screen: the studio reportedly attempted an adaptation starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn in the 1980s. Before then, there were other unsuccessful cracks at a film adaptation, and one short-lived TV series for HBO.
It's a crime that it's taken this many attempts to bring Encyclopedia Brown to life. Will Warner Bros. finally crack the case?
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In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
Pigskin season got an early kickoff as Mark Wahlberg’s football underdog drama Invincible, based on the true story of a Philadelphia Eagle fan who made the team in the mid-'70s, debuted in the top spot at the North American box office this weekend with $17 million.
"They make people feel good, and they can relate to the underdog," Chris LeRoy, general sales manager at Disney told The Associated Press. "They are sports-related stories, but I think these movies transcend the sport and get right to characters that people relate to."
Invincible, along with other newcomers, pushed last week’s champ Snakes on a Plane down the list to sixth place with $6.4 million.
But the drinking comedy Beerfest fizzled in fourth with $6.5 million, while the musical drama Idlewild, starring Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton of OutKast, failed to hit a note with moviegoers with its $5.9 million ninth place finish. The new family comedy How to Eat Fried Worms failed to even make the Top 10, opening in 11th place with $4 million.
The big success story this week, however, is the Sundance darling Little Miss Sunshine. Expanding to its widest release yet, the indie took the third spot with $7.5 million.
The top 12 movies grossed $83.8 million, up 4.34 percent from last year’s draw of $80.4 but down 8.25 percent from last weekend, which took in $91.4 million.
The Top Three films at the box office this time last year were: Universal’s The 40 Year-Old Virgin, which stayed at No. 1 in its second week with $16.2 million in 2,868 theaters, averaging $5,675 per theater; Miramax’s The Brothers Grimm, which debuted in second place with $15 million in 3,087 theaters, averaging $4,889 per theaters; and DreamWorks’ Red Eye, which dropped to third place in its second week of release with $10.2 million in 3,091 theaters, averaging $3,329 per theaters (Click here to read last year's box office report).
BOX OFFICE TOP 10, ESTIMATES
(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)
No. 1: Invincible (Buena Vista, PG)
• Gross: $17 million
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 2,917
• Per-theater average: $5,838
No. 2: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Sony, PG-13)
• Gross: $8 million (-42%)
• Weeks opened: 4
• Theaters: 3,370 (-371)
• Per-theater average: $2,374
• Cume to date: $127.6 million
No. 3: Little Miss Sunshine (Fox Searchlight, R)
• Gross: $7.5 million (+34%)
• Weeks opened: 5
• Theaters: 1,430 (+739)
• Per-theater average: $5,245
• Cume to date: $23 million
No. 4: Beerfest (Warner Bros., R)
• Gross: $6.5 million
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 2,964
• Per-theater average: $2,193
No. 5: Accepted (Universal, PG-13)
• Gross: $6.5 million (-35%)
• Weeks opened: 2
• Theaters: 2,917 (+3)
• Per-theater average: $2,228
• Cume to date: $21.1 million
No. 6: Snakes on a Plane (New Line, R)
• Gross: $6.4 million (-58%)
• Weeks opened: 2
• Theaters: 3,555 (unchanged)
• Per-theater average: $1,800
• Cume to date: $26.5 million
• Cume to date: $26.5 million
No. 7 : World Trade Center (Paramount, PG-13)
• Gross: $6.3 million (-41%)
• Weeks opened: 3
• Theaters: 3,021 (+23)
• Per-theater average: $2,116
• Cume to date: $55.5 million
No. 8: Step Up (Buena Vista, PG-13)
• Gross: $6.1 million (-39%)
• Weeks opened: 3
• Theaters: 2,647 (+8)
• Per-theater average: $2,337
• Cume to date: $50.4 million
No. 9: Idlewild (Universal, R)
• Gross: $5.9 million
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 973
• Per-theater average: $6,064
No. 10: Barnyard (Paramount, PG)
• Gross: $5.4 million (-28%)
• Weeks opened: 4
• Theaters: 3,003 (-224)
• Per-theater average: $1,809
• Cume to date: $54.7 million
The Quiet (Sony Pictures Classics, R)
• Gross: $28,738
• Weeks opened: NEW!
• Theaters: 7
• Per-theater average: $4,105