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film reel image

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Ad Astra 2019 * * 1/2 Stars

Ad AstraDirector: James Gray
Year: 2019
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones Ruth Negga

Ad Astra is my latest review. It was released in September of 2019 with reshoots causing the film to go $20 million dollars over budget. James Gray directs "Astra" giving the audience a mixture of sci-fi Apocalypse Now, Mission to Mars, and 2014's Interstellar. Oh and you can even throw in a little 2001: A Space Odyssey because well, why not.

So OK, Ad Astra has known troupers in it that barely register (Donald Sutherland, Liv Tyler, Tommy Lee Jones). And yes, Brad Pitt as the lead gives a performance so inert and underplayed, his heart rate probably never rose above 60 (his character's rarely went over 80). Still, "Astra" has a tamed look of steely-eyed convention. It's 124 minutes of space-age, numbing beauty. Add Max Richter's Cliff Martinez-like musical score and some canvased cinematography and Ad Astra is well, total science fiction 101.

Image result for ad astra movie scenes"Astra" has shards of glacial violence, some NASA implausibility (Neptune and Jupiter aren't as far away as I thought), numerous Brad Pitt-ed close-ups, and some narration by Pitt that feels awkward at best (he's no Captain Willard mind you).

In truth, if you like your science fiction fantasies to be more pretentious family drama than action, then Ad Astra is your go-to vehicle. And if you like a flick that keeps you at a distance with a lonely, closed-in feel, then "Astra" will help you meet that particular "Waterloo".

All in all, Ad Astra is a movie about an astronaut named Roy McBride (Pitt) who goes to Neptune to find his father (Clifford McBride). Roy wants to bring said father back to earth and help him eliminate plans for an expedition that might destroy the universe.

Image result for ad astra movie scenesBottom line: "Astra" is an icy, slow burn journey of a film and because of its artsy-fartsy residue and languidness, I might not have the gumption to see it again. Or maybe just see it "ad" hoc. Rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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