Variety has an article out today that was talking about how Tom Cruise has a serious need for speed. NASA administrator Jim Bridentsine tweeted that "NASA is exited to work with @TomCruise on a film aboard the @Space_Station!"
Plot details have not been revealed, although Deadline Hollywood reports that it will not be an installment of Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible” franchise. It is also reported that Cruise has been working with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and were in the early stages of teaming up with NASA for an action-adventure feature film. NASA confirmed this would be the first feature film to be shot in outer-space.
Cruise is known for doing all of his own stunts and it is expected that he will make the journey to the International Space Station for the film. No word on any other aspects of crew, equipment or other details that may hint to the production. Films have been made at the ISS in the past, but not a narrative feature film. However, Bridenstine sees this as a major plus hoping to "inspire a new generation."
The Central Coast has beautiful evening skies, which make our launches from Vandenberg AFB all the more dramatic. But also, it's a perfect place to spot the ISS orbiting overhead. So make sure to look up and watch the newest out-of-this-world filming location when cameras roll. Check out the schedule of flyovers here.
What do you think about the news? Looking forward to real space movies?
So it looks like we have all been spending some quality time inside for our own good lately. Lots of people are now caught up on films and television shows they’ve been wanting to see, but what do you do when you have finished your list? Why not revisit some classic films with ties to right here on the Central Coast?
So we, here at the Central Coast Film Society, have put together a Top 10 list of things to watch while sheltering at home. And every one of them has a strong Central Coast connection. Here’s what you might want to dust off and enjoy.
10) Little Giants - Arroyo Grande
In the small village of Arroyo Grande came the feel good film with Rick Moranis and Ed O’Neil. They play brothers living in Urbania, Ohio. Only, it’s actually Arroyo Grande. Watch as the misfit team lead by Moranis train to go up against the big team. A perfect small town, home-grown family comedy.
9) Spartacus - San Simeon
At 190 minutes long, Spartacus is the type of movie to watch to make an event out of it, or when you’re stuck at home all day. Which makes pausing for bathroom breaks a little easier. This classic movie, with Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier and directed by Stanley Kubrick, will have you transported back to the glory days of Rome by stopping at Hearst Castle as a backdrop.
8) The Spirit of St. Louis - Santa Maria
Billy Wilder’s production staring James Stewart was filmed all over the world following the story of Charles Lindbergh and his monumental flight from New York to Paris. However, in this movie, they were flying out of Allan Hancock Air Field (now site of Allan Hancock College) in Santa Maria. The film was released in 1957 and only a couple years later the airport closed as the US-101 was rerouted to it’s current location.
7) Pete’s Dragon - Point Buchon
This classic Disney film was set in Passamaquoddy, Maine but was filmed on this coast! The lighthouse seen in the film was built near Montana De Oro State Park, on Point Buchon, with special permission by the Coast Guard. You can still hike to that location, but you won’t find a lighthouse anymore. It was quickly dismantled after production to not confuse passing ships.
6) Of Mice And Men - Santa Ynez Valley
Directed and staring Gary Sinise, this film was filmed extensively in the Santa Ynez Valley. This classic John Steinbeck novel is a heavy drama was praised by critics but didn’t do that well in the box office. The 1939 version of the story was filmed a little further north in San Luis Obispo and the Hearst Ranch.
5) Outbreak - Santa Ynez Valley
What is a pandemic without watching a movie like this? With it’s huge ensemble cast, most of the movie takes place in Northern California. But watch carefully when Dustin Hoffman and Cuba Gooding Jr. are in a helicopter trying to divert an Air Force plane (that flew out from Vandenberg AFB). You can see they’re flying over the Santa Ynez Mountain Range.
4) The Rocketeer - Santa Maria
Walt Disney got their toes wet in comic book superhero films with The Rocketeer in 1991. Much of the film’s non-Los Angeles locations were shot at the Santa Maria Airport and surrounding areas. The film was well received, but plans for sequels were scrapped after the movie only performed “modestly” at the box office. Director Joe Johnston would go on to make another comic book film: Captain America: The First Avenger.
3) Batman: The Movie - Santa Barbara
Bam! Pow! Batman’s first big screen appearance showed the caped crusader running along Stern’s Wharf in Santa Barbara looking for the villain’s secret lair. While most everyone enjoys all the various and recent versions of Gotham City, it might be time to go revisit what started all the fun with this campy and fun movie.
2) Scarface - Santa Barbara
Al Pacino’s Tony Montana is a story that Walter White could only dream of. In the carnage infused climax at Tony’s Miami mansion, you may recognize that it’s actually in Santa Barbara. The scene also seems to have inspired part of the Harold Ramis comedy, Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser that had an action-packed drug lord compound scene that was also filmed in Santa Barbara.
1) HBO’s John Adams - Santa Maria
Yes, this isn’t a movie, but this Golden Globe winning series is a masterpiece from HBO and perfect to binge at home as we head into Memorial Day and Independence Day on an election year. Earlier this year was the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre, which is depicted in the opening parts of this series. It follows Paul Giamatti as John Adams in a remarkable telling of the man’s life. What you may not know is a good portion of the visual effects were done in Santa Maria by CafeFX, also known for doing effects in movies like Pan’s Labyrinth or The Mist.
BUT WAIT... there's one more.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Touch of Satan - Santa Ynez Valley
Alright, this one is so special it needs it’s own category. Ever see movies that are so bad they’re funny? Well, that’s what Mystery Science Theater 3000 does all the time. You can binge bad movies until the cows come home, but if you want something with a local backdrop then watch this beauty. Filmed in 1971 Santa Ynez Valley, this horror film is worthy of the bad jokes that two robots and a trapped spaceman fire at it.
So if you've been inside for a really long time and feeling a little stir crazy, this may help fix your brain. You can actually watch Season 10, Episode 8 of the show online for free right now. Take a look below!
50 years ago today, those words were sent from a small spacecraft, 200,000 miles from the surface of the Earth. It was on its way to the moon, with plans to land on the surface and study it. Of course, that all changed after the explosion that happened, crippling the space craft. The 1995 film, Apollo 13 was an instant success and was praised for the film's faithful authenticity surrounding the incident. The film was released 25 years after the real incident, and this year the film turns 25 years old.
Instead of landing on the moon, the crew of Apollo 13 then has to endure trial after trial as they sling-shot around the moon and return home. The fate of the three men onboard captivated the world as they approached their home world. Finally, on April 17th, 1970, the crew safely landed in the South Pacific Ocean and were recovered by a nearby US Navy ship. The recreated splashdown from the 1995 film was shot near the Channel Islands, off the southern part of California's Central Coast, near Los Angeles.
Now, watch a fantastic short film that looks back on the incident. The film was created and released today by NASA and includes interviews with the crew of Apollo 13 as well as the original footage and the original delivery of "Houston, we've had a problem" by Jim Lovell. The start of a successful failure.
Send In Your Scripts!
While you are sheltering at home with recent COVID-19 activity, it doesn't mean your creativity needs to run dry! Now is the "write time" to work on your scripts, and local legend, David Hardberger is offering to help! He is willing to review short film scripts to help get projects off the ground once productions can restart.
David Hardberger is on the Board of Directors for the SLO Film Festival and is a voting member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to his extensive career in special effects, he has written and directed two short films that were filmed in the San Luis Obispo area using many local crew members and talent.
Scripts should be 20 pages or less, with limited locations and characters. Each script should be registered with the WGA or copyright prior to submittal. If you do not register or copyright your script, send an attached document that lists the title of the film, who wrote it and in the body of the text say that this is being submitted for review and evaluation ONLY. The writer realizes that there is no promise of money, getting the film produced, or any other compensation.
Send scripts directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hear more about David and all the amazing projects he has worked on by listening to our podcast: Take 18. You can also listen by clicking below!
Play Take 18 Interview Here!
The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that classic leading man from The Comancheros, The Longest Day and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines has died in his home in Montecito yesterday. He was also known for his performance in the television show Cimarron Strip as well has for his performance in The Mark, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. According to to the article, "Whitman did get nominated for best actor but lost out to Judgment at Nuremberg's Maximilian Schell — whose sister, Maria, played Whitman's love interest in The Mark. "Maria told me she didn't know who to vote for that year!” he said."
Whitman began his on screen career in 1951's When Worlds Collide, appearing in numerous films and television shows all the way up until 2000. His work had a huge range of genres, from westerns to suspenseful crime to creature features. After his half of century of acting, he retired to his 30-acre Santa Barbara area ranch and worked in real estate.
I have to just come right out and say that I love that Disney has made a fantasy film for young adults! To make magical and mythical creatures cool again was just a joy to see. But of course we all know that Pixar like to take our hearts, tear it into tiny little shreds, and then rebuild it lovingly and send us out with a nice hug.
The story is about two brothers whom the elder one barely knew his dad and the youngest wasn't even born when he died. Via some magic handed down to them, they were given a chance to bring their dad back for one day. Of course, the spell doesn't work out so well and they are only able to bring back his lower half. So the brothers set out on a quest to find another magical source so they can get a chance to see their dad one last time.
Reading that synopsis probably gives you the idea that this movie probably isn't for little kids, and I don't think it is! This is a far more mature story than I think younger kids would have a harder time to wrap their heads around it. Sure there are moments of pure slapstick comedy like any great animated film would have, but the story team at Pixar took the broken heart of a broken family and was able to put those feelings into the audience. Pixar has mastered the sorcery of making audiences feel exactly what they want you to, and that just proves their writing and storytelling skills are almost always firing on all cylinders. If you grew up with a broken family, you can't help but be touched in someway by this film. Be prepared!
Of course all the magic that Disney could conjure up still didn't arrive without some flaws. For me, some Pixar films made my jaw hit the floor with it's near photo-realistic rendering. I'm thinking of more recent films like Cars 3 or Finding Dory. But this one, although beautiful shots were throughout, felt a little stale. Maybe it was the extra characters all looked too similar and not so different. Maybe the animation seemed to be more "cartoonish" than watching how cars drive and fish swim. But then in the other hand, this is a fantasy film! You can't expect any realism to it. However, the charm is this is about taking Lord of the Rings and putting it in a contemporary setting, and doing it with charm and heart. I will also point out, when the brother voiced by Chris Pratt, talks about his last time he saw his father was near identical of his Guardians of the Galaxy character's moment with his mother. Ironically, his brother is voiced by Tom Holland, who is probably the best incarnation of Spider-Man, and shared screen-time with Pratt in the last two Avengers movies. With this said, I really want to see a live-action movie with these two in it!
Go see Onward and be prepared to have your heart touched as magic runs from opening frame to the last. Also, get there early to see Disney's attempt of making The Simpsons short cartoon the prelude to the feature (which I'm not sure how I feel about, to be honest). It's going to be great for the older kids, which is probably why The Simpsons made it's appearance here. And if you love fantasy films, Dungeons & Dragons or anything with magic, you'll love going Onward.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Well... I didn't see that coming.
Going into this movie, I wasn't looking for much more than a relaunch of the movie originally intended for Universal's Dark Universe. This was Universal's response to Disney/Marvel and Warner Brother's own comic book universes, where all the stand alone characters in their intellectual properties would collide. The film was originally slated to include Johnny Depp as the titular character, but it was scrubbed and turned into this film after The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, failed to launch the franchise after the one movie. A movie with Javier Bardem as Frankenstein's monster was also canceled. Personally, I didn't think The Mummy was all that bad and I was excited to see Universal embrace the property they have: their monsters. So admittedly, I was not excited to see the scraps of this movie after the Dark Universe collapsed into a cinematic black hole, but I'm glad I saw it!
This movie is not without it's many faults, and in someways does feel like Frankenstein's monster lurching around the screen, but take it for what it is. It's a suspenseful and psychological thriller that has it's origins in a classic monster movie. Lots of shots of empty hallways, doorways and other empty space that by the end of the movie you're convinced there's an invisible man standing there, waiting for the right moment to mess with your head. Leigh Whannell, of the Saw films, does a fantastic job of building suspense, even though it's incredibly predictable.
Elisabeth Moss does a fantastic job of having one foot in reality and still battling the mental games her ex is playing with her while he can't be seen. If you've seen her in The Handmaid's Tale, it's very similar acting, or maybe even characters. But she does sell the situation and the movie would not be able to have any legs if it wasn't for her performance. Overall, this movie does have it's moments jump-scares and brooding music, but it also has it's moments of "we all saw that coming."
There was a not so subtle cameo (more like mention) of the Central Coast, and I didn't see it coming either. Elisabeth Moss' character is an alumni of Cal Poly Architecture School, and is evident by the sweatshirt she wears, degrees on the wall and mentioned during a job interview. Seeing the movie on the Central Coast is bound to have someone shout out, "Hey, Cal Poly!" like it's a hidden cameo, but it's something that you really can't miss.
This movie is a fun that I wish was still in the Universal monster universe roster, but still happy with the results.
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Here's a trailer for the 2017's Dark Universe by Universal:
Variety is reporting that Spielberg has left the director's chair for long awaited Indiana Jones 5 movie, scheduled to begin production sometime this summer. According to Variety, who had the exclusive news, that "Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold is in talks to take the job. Mangold has been put in this situation before when he took over the Wolverine franchise; 2017’s Logan was a blockbuster, grossing $619 million globally, and earning Mangold an Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay."
The film has been "in the works" since Disney announced it back in 2016, and subsequently has seen many delays. It is unclear if this will cause another delay, with production only a few months away. Spielberg is still set to remain on the project as a producer, but this is the first time in 39 years he will not be sitting at the director's chair. One project that delayed Indiana Jones was Spielberg's involvement with his upcoming remake of West Side Story, set to be released later this year. Harrison Ford is still attached to the project, for now, as he has been talking about his involvement as he went on his press tour for his recent release, Call of the Wild.
Spielberg is not the first crew member to step down from their role for this film. Screenwriter David Koepp left the project and Jonathan Kasdan, son of Lawrence Kasdan, came in to finish the script, causing another delay. Disney is also undergoing a major change with CEO Bob Iger stepping down effective immediately yesterday, and so upper Disney brass might be also influx. According to Variety's report, both Disney and Spielberg are declining to comment on the matter.
The last film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Krystal Skull, did feature local Central Coast iconic town of Morro Bay, standing in for Cuba during it's iconic "map sequence." You can see Morro Rock and the tall smoke stacks that are a staple of Morro Bay.
To read the full article, click here.
The Call of the Wild is a tremendously famous novel by Jack London and many versions have been done with this. So now, Twentieth Century Studios (formerly Fox and now owned by Disney), sets out in telling this tale using CGI animals.
Watching this movie I felt like this movie was made specifically for substitute teachers to play during their classroom coverages. It touches, and glosses, over lots of the history behind the novel and it is obviously made with a younger audience in mind. Which is fine, only the material is very hard to adapt for a younger audience. I don't think Jack London had that in mind. It's fascinating to see how the film was marketed, showing Harrison Ford with the dog named "Buck." Ford does a good job with the screen time he has, but he's maybe in the film for about a third of the total run time. He plays an individual with a troubled past and running to the ends of the world to find peace. I wish we had that movie instead.
This story follows "Buck" for the entire movie. From spoiled house dog, to (spoilers) becoming leader of a wolf pack. But along with all the gorgeous nature shots, the experience to me felt a little cheated by all the CGI. It was all very artificial, which still may work with younger audiences, but felt like it was almost a lazy conversation on set of "we'll fix that in post." Also, when the animals are more animated and show more emotion than your on camera actors, that's a bit of a problem if you want to have a more serious film. Also there's some great actors in this film who have a "blink and you missed it" role, which just makes them feel wasted to me.
So take it for what it is: a very mature story told through a cartoon dog's eyes. Then you'll have a decent time.
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
So, I have to admit something. I went into this movie with very low expectations. The film currently has only a 64% rating on RottenTomatoes critic score, but I saw it had a 94% audience rating. I don't put too much stock in the audience score, just because of the way people can just trash (or love) movies with or without cause. And so 64% was relatively low. I had my four-year-old daughter with me over President's Day weekend and we decided to go see this movie together. I was wondering how she'd respond to the movie, being someone who played the video game as a kid I know the material well, but she's going in cold turkey. And now I'll admit something else, the movie whole heartedly deserves that audience score as well as the "A" rating on CinemaScore.
This movie wasn't as nostalgic to the games as I had thought, but that's not bad. There was enough little nods and winks, especially at the beginning and end, to keep me happy. But for the most part it was a fresh take on this character and those around him. I was very pleasantly surprised by this movie in almost every way. I also want to especially thank this movie for giving us the Jim Carrey that we all knew and loved from his earlier career. His performance was the typical zany, over-the-top and wild character we come to love. I'm thinking like Ace Ventura, The Mask, or even Liar, Liar. Here he's the super-villain and plays to that perfectly and it's be-a-utiful to watch again. James Marsden also has a history of doing films that don't take themselves too seriously, but he does each of those roles with heart and charm and it works incredibly well in this movie. I loved his work in the X-Men series, but here it's more like Hop, 27 Dresses or Enchanted kind of charm.
Sonic himself is fine too. He doesn't have too much character arc, and it's really about the characters he's interacting with. The cast of characters that are supporting this movie are top notch. Even Neal McDonough from Desperate Housewives and Captain America had a small, throw away part in this movie. But everything is done with heart, even in the over the top zany elements. As long as the audience can suspend their disbelief, they're going to enjoy. And judging from audience reactions, they're able to do that with ease and really enjoy this movie!
The movie isn't without it's faults, and is of course a kids movie. But it's engaging, not overly on-the-nose and has great moments. Parents will enjoy this movie too as the humor is primarily in good taste, but there's plenty of laugh out loud moments. This is something that the whole family will enjoy, even if you don't like the video game, it's a fun film. Far more entertaining than I thought it would be.
Rating: 4/5 Stars