Watch the You-Know-What Out Of This New Trailer for The Martian

The second full trailer for 20th Century Fox’s upcoming film The Martian dropped this morning and it looks like a whole red-planetful of awesome space adventure! Directed by Ridley Scott and based on the runaway hit novel of the same name by Andy Weir, The Martian stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney, a member of a fictional yet not-too-distant-future NASA mission to explore the surface of Mars. After a violent dust storm batters the camp the team is forced to abort the mission, abandoning the base and Watney, who was injured and assumed dead. Except, of course, he’s not, thus beginning his new mission to remain alive on Mars long enough to be rescued — a feat which will require bravery, brains, luck… and a whole you-know-what-load of science. (If you haven’t read the book yet, it’s a lot of fun. I highly suggest it.) So check out the trailer above, and feel free to repeat as necessary.

The Martian opens in U.S. theaters on Oct. 2. Visit the official movie site here.

This Video About Solar Superstorms is Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch and It Looks Awesome.

What’s better than a full 180-degree digital theater experience that takes you into the heart of our Sun to see how solar storms form? Why, all of that accompanied by a rumbling narration by Benedict Cumberbatch, of course.

The video above is a trailer for “Solar Superstorms,” a digital planetarium presentation distributed by Fulldome Film Society and co-produced by Spitz Creative Media, NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Lab, and Thomas Lucas Productions. It uses the monster Blue Waters supercomputers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois to visualize the complex processes occurring in, on, and around the Sun. It might look a little weird in the flat 2D format above, but I can only imagine what it will be like to see it from inside a digital dome (and have the disembodied voice of Smaug/Sherlock/Khan thundering through the room!)

The film itself is still in production so I couldn’t find an official release date. But keep an eye out for it at your nearest planetarium and visit the FulldomeFilm.org catalog page for other films from the same distributor.

You can find a database of fulldome theaters and digital planetariums around the world here.

Video credit: Spitz Creative Media

“Theory of Everything:” Trailer for Movie about Stephen Hawking Now Available

Who says science and love (and science and the arts) don’t go together? A new movie set to premiere in November 2014 will feature the life story of physicist Stephen Hawking and focuses on his relationship with Jane Wilde, the art student he fell in love with while studying at Cambridge in the 1960s. “The Theory of Everything” also depicts Hawking’s genuius amid the diagnosis of a fatal illness at age 21 and how he has survived. From the movie blurb:

Little was expected from Stephen Hawking, a bright but shiftless student of cosmology, given just two years to live following the diagnosis of a fatal illness at 21 years of age. He became galvanized, however, by the love of fellow Cambridge student, Jane Wilde, and he went on to be called the successor to Einstein, as well as a husband and father to their three children. Over the course of their marriage as Stephen’s body collapsed and his academic renown soared, fault lines were exposed that tested the lineaments of their relationship and dramatically altered the course of both of their lives.

The movie stars Eddie Redmayne as Hawking and Felicity Jones as Jane, and is from Focus Films. See the full cast and info at IMBd.

Finally, a Sci-Fi Movie Heavy on the Science: “Europa Report”

The producers of a new movie called “Europa Report” have released a new trailer about their film, which features a near-future mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, in search of extraterrestrial life. From the trailer, the film looks to be of extremely high quality, and it stars Sharlto Copley (District 9), with music score from composer Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica, Eureka).

And while this is a sci-fi flick, the makers of “Europa Report” say they have steeped it in real science. JPL scientists acted as advisers on the film, and it’s been called “One of the most thrilling and realistic depictions of deep-space exploration since ‘Moon’ and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’” by Space.com

Enjoy the trailer below.

The film will be released on for download on June 27th and theatrically on August 2nd through Magnolia Pictures. The premiere showing of the film will be in the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History on August 1st.

Our Spoiler-Free Review of Star Trek: Into Darkness

If you’re a fan of the rebooted 2009 Star Trek film, we think you’ll love the second edition. You’ll find similar whip-cracking dialog, inside jokes and action-filled storyline in the sequel, Star Trek: Into Darkness, which opens in theaters in the United States and several other countries today.

While the first movie introduced us to the characters, this movie is all about choices… moral choices, and when it is best to help somebody, as opposed to letting things be. That’s where things can get uncomfortable, though.

The film’s start portrays a moral dilemma in the first few minutes, with choices that bring upon punishment for the players involved. The consequences are quite logical — Spock would point that out — but when more dilemmas pile up at the end of the film, many decisions go unquestioned.

Yes, this is an action film and yes, the Star Trek franchise is one that never lets itself get slowed down by plot holes and inconsistencies. (The plot isn’t that groundbreaking, either.) Still, the movie could have benefitted from an extra five or 10 minutes to show the reasoning behind the final few choices. Thinking over what happened, there could be problems with what the crew decided to do.

Nyota Uhura as seen in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Credit: StarTrekMovie.com
Nyota Uhura as seen in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Credit: StarTrekMovie.com

Enough Tribble-like quibbling, though. Star Trek: Into Darkness pulls you in with an action sequence in the first few minutes, and the pace never lets up. Spock (Zachary Quinto)’s straightforward nature gets him into trouble — as usual — with James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), leading to quotable insults that generated audience guffaws in an advance screening Universe Today saw in Ottawa, Canada.

There’s enough time and, well, space for other characters to shine as well. While Nyota Uhura (Zoë Saldana) spends ample screen time mooning about her boyfriend, she proves to be an excellent and forceful translator. Scotty (Simon Pegg) also has a wonderful back-and-forth sequence late in the movie, breaking up some intense moments with his slapstick humor.

Also: Another character comes along and — with a presence that commands attention on the big screen — threatens to steal the show from our heroes. You don’t want to like them, but as you get to know them you realize they have reasons behind their actions.

What did you think of the film? Please share your thoughts in the comments

Hang On! Trailer for “Gravity” Previews Spacewalk Disaster Film

Yikes! The trailer for an upcoming film “Gravity” is absolutely terrifying. This movie won’t hit theaters until October 4, 2013, so we can expect to see more trailers after this first ‘teaser.” We do know it is directed by Alfonso Cuarón and stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. But with an emergency spacewalk likely taking place tomorrow at the International Space Station, the timing of the release of this trailer is just a bit eerie.

Bullock plays a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, the space station is damaged, leaving the two astronauts completely alone and tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness.

Watch the teaser below:

The word on the street is that NASA was not consulted at all for this film, so we can only hope for a hint of reality (i.e., let hope it’s not another “Armageddon.”) But from the trailer, it seems to follow the recipe for any space disaster film: go into space, have the mission go awry, bring in the heroes to save the day. Guesses on thumbs up or down?

Star Trek Teaser: “Into Darkness” Trailer Released

James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise will be back for a second pre-quel of the young original Enterprise crew with next summer’s “Star Trek Into Darkness.” From this new teaser trailer just released today, it certainly looks dark, with lots of explosions, fight scenes, women screaming, Chris Pine’s Kirk having omnipresent cuts on his face, and what looks like a starship falling into an ocean.

The description of the film on the IMDb website:

After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

The bad guy (actor Benedict Cumberbatch) has a British accent (wasn’t that big in the 1960’s?) and rumors are starting to surface with Cumberbatch playing either a villain similar to the classic ‘Trek’ nemesis Gary Mitchell, who gains glassy eyes and superpowers and tries to take over the world in the second pilot episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before” for the 60’s TV series, or Khan, the genetically-engineered tyrant who first appeared in the original Trek TV series episode “Space Seed” but was killed in the “Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan” movie. So, in my mind, revisiting Khan would would cause the Trek world to get complicated.

But while the villain hasn’t yet been revealed, it is someone who “has returned,” so expect it to be a familiar name.

From the teaser, it appears all the main actors from the 2009 “Star Trek” film have returned, but does Spock have a new haircut?

A disclaimer: this was posted for all our Trek fans, so don’t complain that this isn’t space or astronomy news, because in our Trekkie minds it is space news.

Enticing Trailer for New Movie about a Mission to Europa

Here’s a trailer from a new movie called “Europa Report” about a near-future mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, in search of extraterrestrial life. From the trailer, the film looks to be of extremely high quality, and it stars Sharlto Copley (District 9), with music score from composer Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica).

And while this is a sci-fi flick, the makers of “Europa Report” say they are trying to steep it in real science.

The PR for the film is just getting underway, but they have a realistic-looking website that appears to show webcam views from a spacecraft heading to Europa.

Screenshot:

Here’s the blurb from the website:

For decades, scientists have theorized the existence of liquid water oceans on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. We’ve recently discovered new, captivating evidence that these sub-surface oceans do exist and could support life.

We’ve sent six astronauts from space programs throughout the world on a three year journey to Europa to explore its oceans and confirm these findings.

We’re proud to be at the forefront of the effort to prove the existence of extra-terrestrial life within our solar system, within our lifetimes.

And yep, like any film about spaceflight, something has to go wrong during the mission.

The release date for the film has not yet been set.

NASA’s Top Movie Lists That Never Were

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Just after the first of the year, a story came out that NASA had held a private meeting at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to discuss the movies Hollywood has been releasing, asking filmmakers “to stick to more rational plots.” Additionally, the article — which was widely passed around and republished on lots of big news sites — reported that the people at the meeting came up with two lists of movies: one was the top seven worst science fiction movies ever and the other was the seven most realistic science-based movies. Comments about the story ranged from disagreeing with the lists to, more importantly, people wondering why NASA suddenly taken on the task of being movie critics. It turns out, they didn’t.

“This was a case of spectacularly bad reporting,” said Don Yeomans, a senior research scientist at JPL, in an article on the Planetary Society blog by Charleen Anderson. “We would never be so foolish as to compile a list of the worst science-based films.”
Continue reading “NASA’s Top Movie Lists That Never Were”