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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Dad Star Man: A Review Of AD ASTRA

Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

What if there was intelligent life at the farthest reaches of the studio system?

Fully a fable, a chamber piece within outer space, “Ad Astra” is flint and lyric: the search for self, the search for God, the transformation of thought into light playing off an iconic face in close-up against the bold but airless light of a greater universe. James Gray’s marvel of a paranoid thriller, antagonistically serene, otherworldly yet wholly concrete is an uncommon attainment of visual and sonic beauty, ready and ripe to be madly misunderstood. In this near future, the moon is colonized and is a waystation to travel to Mars and, clandestinely, beyond. Brad Pitt is mid-career astronaut Roy McBride, forever in the penumbra of his father, H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), who, the space agency attests, vanished nearly three decades earlier as part of the Lima Project, a top-secret experiment that nestled in the rings of Neptune. (Their goal had been to sense intelligent life beyond the edge of human attainment.) Roy is self-contained: taciturn, calm, hardly winded by the worst of physical and psychological challenges. He’s summoned after a global “Surge”: power strikes, cosmic rays blast from the heavens and kill tens of thousands. Could his decades-absent father be alive, a terrorist hurling the fire of antimatter, reveling in unsound methods? [Read more.]

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“I really want to see The Irishman. I’ve heard it’s big brother Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. But I really can’t find the time. The promotion schedule is so tight, there’s no opportunity to see a three and a half-hour movie. But I really want to see it. In 2017, right before Okja’s New York premiere, I had the chance to go to Scorsese’s office, which is in the DGA building. There’s a lovely screening room there, too, with film prints that he’s collected. I talked to him for about an hour. There’s no movie he hasn’t seen, even Korean films. We talked about what he’s seen and his past work. It was a glorious day. I’ve loved his work since I was in college. Who doesn’t? Anyone involved with movies must feel the same way.”
~ Bong Joon-ho

“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh