Ad Astra VFX

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, watch an extensive dive into the making of the visual effects for the moon sequences in the sci-fi thriller Ad Astra. Plus, listen as Kevin Smith enthusiastically and meticulously breaks down a scene from Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (in theaters this week), and find out what it takes to become part of those traveling Disney On Ice shows that families love so much. Read More »

/Filmcast Ep. 536 – Ad Astra

The boys are back in town! David tastes the bread of an “Icelandic geothermal bakery” while Jeff returns to the movie theater… to watch sports. The cast reviews Ad Astra, the latest film by James Gray starring Brad Pitt. Tune in to find out whether the science fiction epic is totally rad or completely sad.

Listen and subscribe to David’s newest podcast Culturally Relevant. Check out Jeff Cannata’s D&D show Dungeon Run. Listen to David’s other podcasts The Sweet Smell of Succession with Tara Ariano and Write Along with writer C. Robert Cargill. Listen to Devindra’s podcast Know More Tech, answering your question on the latest gadgets.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

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For much of his career, Brad Pitt has eschewed the path of the traditional leading man. A recent Buzzfeed article pegged Pitt as “a character actor trapped in a movie star’s body.” If you look back at his filmography, there’s a clear pattern of Pitt playing off other actors as a kind of co-lead or ensemble head. This summer, he did it with Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. However, this pattern dates back at least twenty-five years, to when Pitt emerged as a full-fledged marquee name alongside Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire.

In Ad Astra, Pitt plays Roy McBride, an astronaut whose pulse rate never rises above 80 beats per minute. His journey to far-flung Neptune’s orbit to hopefully find his father and potentially stop an Earth-threatening antimatter surge positions itself as Apocalypse Now in space. Helmed by James Gray, Ad Astra is something of an anomaly, both in Pitt’s oeuvre and in the current blockbuster landscape. It’s a mid-budget movie based on an original idea, not an existing media property, and it doesn’t have a box office friendly director (like Pitt’s last collaborator, Quentin Tarantino) attached to it.

Seeing a film of that nature open the same day in theaters around the world is refreshing, but it does place a burden of expectation on Ad Astra, as its occasionally heavy-handed script peddles thoughtfulness with thrills in an event movie marketplace. The film’s title, which it never explains, is the Latin phrase for “to the stars.” Audiences no longer look to movie stars as reliable brands in and of themselves. Here, Pitt is on his own in a way he’s seldom been in his career. He can hold the screen, but can he elevate our heart rates?

To discuss that, we’ll be rocketing straight into spoiler territory in 3, 2, 1…

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Movies to Watch With Ad Astra

Sure, Brad Pitt saving the galaxy from space vibrations is good, but what about Pitt fighting the crushing despair of the endless void? How fun is that?

An unofficial sequel to Space Cowboys, James Gray’s Ad Astra represents the newest incarnation of the waxing/waning trend of interstellar travel as metaphor for mankind’s internal search for meaning – a far cry from the rubber-suited aliens of the 20th century.

Naturally, that’s no big surprise from an auteur whose personal brand is interpersonal relationships with a dash of daddy issues, but it taps into a current, deepened fascination with what’s out there and whether it has sharp teeth.

Here are 6 options to double feature with Ad Astra that will make you, finally, jealous of Brad Pitt.

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IMAX Ad Astra Trailer

Two years ago, writer-director James Gray took the epic, true-life adventure story The Lost City of Z and turned it into a dark treatise of obsession and its engulfing dangers. His latest film, the big-budget science-fiction story Ad Astra, is as massive a canvas as he’s had to work on so far, with one of the biggest movie stars in the world as his lead. Yet Ad Astra is just as haunting, unexpectedly emotional, and perceptive as Lost City was, making for a remarkable companion piece and one of the most thoughtful and riveting genre films in years.

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Ready to head to space with handsome astronaut Brad Pitt? If so, you might want to check out these two new Ad Astra clips, showing Pitt front and center in director James Gray‘s new sci-fi epic. The first clip has Pitt firmly on terra firma, while the second finds him on another planet, having a terse conversation with Ruth Negga. Watch the clips below.

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ad astra clip

20th Century Fox reveals more about James Gray‘s mysterious sci-fi drama every week, with a new Ad Astra clip debuting ahead of the film’s theatrical release later this month. But where previous trailers highlighted the more cerebral parts of the film, the latest Ad Astra clip previews an action-packed scene involving Brad Pitt and space pirates on the moon. Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds.

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ad astra special look

James Gray‘s mysterious sci-fi drama Ad Astra is set to make its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this week, and in anticipation of that premiere, 20th Century Fox is unveiling a special look at the film. The Ad Astra special look focuses on Brad Pitt‘s astronaut Roy McBride, who is sent on a mission to find his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones). But there seems to be more to this mission than a simple recovery, as tantalizing imagery and unanswered questions are peppered throughout the teaser. Watch the Ad Astra special look below.

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IMAX Ad Astra Trailer

Even though The Walt Disney Company seems to be mostly disappointed with the movies they picked up for release this year from 20th Century Fox, there’s one that seems like it might really have the goods: the mysterious sci-fi drama Ad Astra.

Directed by James Gray (We Own the Night, The Immigrant), Ad Astra follows astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) who is sent on a mission to find his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones). Up until now we didn’t know why it was necessary to track down a man who is believed to be lost somewhere in the outer solar system, but a new IMAX Ad Astra trailer lays out the plot a little more clearly, and it also shows off some stunning visuals that make it mandatory to see this on the biggest screen possible. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Ad Astra Trailer

When a peculiar cataclysmic event creates chaos on Earth, astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is tasked with trying to figure out what went wrong. That’s the set-up for the new movie Ad Astra, in which NASA and the military thinks this Earth-shattering event is somehow tied to a secret mission that Roy’s father (Tommy Lee Jones) embarked on 20 years ago. What follows is a psychological mystery that looks like it will warp our minds and give us a sci-fi drama on par with the likes of Arrival and Interstellar. Watch a new Ad Astra trailer below to see for yourself. Read More »