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Cook Library Cinema Club: Space Odysseys

star wars logoHollywood is certainly into space travel these days.  You may have heard about a certain little movie about galaxies far, far away that is set to open this week?  It has been a long wait for Star Wars fans, but the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally here, and in all likelihood will smash previous box office records on its way to becoming the highest grossing film of all time.  Do you have your tickets yet?

Several of the most exciting films in recent years also involve travels to outer space.  Sandra Bullock and George Clooney lent their star power to the 2014 Best Picture Oscar nominee Gravity, and director Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar snagged a well-deserved Oscar in 2015 for its spectacular special effects.  Matt Damon scored big this fall in the hit film The Martian, which was based on the bestselling novel by Andy Weir.  That film will soon be out on DVD, so reserve a copy if you haven’t seen it yet.

If all the Star Wars buzz has put you in the mood for even more space adventures, be sure to check out at least some of the following films.  You’ll find that all are truly out of this world!


Space Odysseys Combo

Moon  (2009):  A modern classic.  Astronaut Sam Bell has been the sole inhabitant of a lunar space station for over three years, with only his trusted computer GERTY for a companion.  A terrible accident leads to a disturbing discovery that contributes to his growing sense of paranoia after spending so much time alone and so far away from home.  Sam Rockwell stars, with Kevin Spacey providing the voice of GERTY.

Apollo 13  (1995):  Based on a true story.  After the Apollo 13 spacecraft suffers catastrophic damage mid-flight, NASA engineers race against time to devise the means to get the three astronauts on board safely back to Earth.  Ron Howard directed this classic nail-biter, which stars Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinese and Kevin Bacon.

Solaris  (1972):  Famed Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky helmed this psychological drama about a cosmonaut/psychologist sent to the distant Solaris space station to investigate the cause of the increasingly strange behavior of the station’s crew members.  American director Steven Soderbergh crafted a remake of the film in 2002 that stars George Clooney.  Both versions are worth seeing.

2001: A Space Odyssey  (1968):  The plot of director Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece is incredibly hard to describe in just a few sentences.  Is it a story of evolution?  Man vs. machine?  Just know that it is a must see!  The film’s special effects were truly groundbreaking for its time, and the film continues to influence those who produce science fiction movies today.  The DVD and Bluray editions of the film both include a documentary on the making of the film, as well as interviews with Kubrick.

The Right Stuff  (1984):  The inspirational true story of test pilot Chuck Yaeger’s attempt to break the sound barrier, and the seven heroic military pilots selected to man the country’s first space flights as part of Project Mercury.  Based on the classic book by Tom Wolfe, the film stars Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris and Dennis Quaid.

Space Cowboys  (2000):  This one is a lot of fun!  A crew of aging former engineers and astronauts finally gets their chance to travel to space when they are recruited to repair an errant older satellite they helped design before it reenters the Earth’s atmosphere.  The all-star cast includes Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner and Donald Sutherland.





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