Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Best costume design. Really, Academy? That’s it? As a good online friend would say, Pffft.
The most overlooked movie of the year, by far, is “Bright Star.” From the opening shot — an extreme close-up of a needle pulling through fabric — you know you are in the hands of a cinematic master. This intimate look at an everyday act makes it a wondrous thing, as if we have never quite seen it before.
Jane Campion, who wrote as well as directed, has created an incandescent and utterly satisfying story of young love — romantic and tragic and true.
Its title taken from his poem of the same name, “Bright Star” tells the story of the poet John Keats and his neighbor, Fanny Brawne. It follows their relationship from the time of their first meeting, through and after his death.
It is a relationship that develops naturally and believably; each coming into their own as they awaken to each other, and the sensual joys of the world around them.
Their relationship is complicated by his poverty — he’s not seen as a suitable match for Fanny — and by the jealousness of his best friend, who resents her intrusion into their bachelor lives.
Time and circumstance bring their critics around. Even her mother and the doubting friend yield to the understanding that this is not just a bad case of puppy love, but a heavy dose of the real thing.
Abbie Cornish, who plays Fanny Brawne, gives a flawless performance as a young girl awakening to herself, and to love. Ben Whishaw plays Keats with just the right amount of passion and angst — acutely sensitive, but never cloying.
Can you watch this and not be reminded of your own first love, when the world was lit up and new? No, you cannot. Like a great poem itself, the movie delivers us that world again.
If God is in the details, the details are in this film: the wind coming in through the open window in Fanny’s room; her hands as she touches the wall between them; the new coat she sews when she sees his old one, threadbare.
When the inevitable happens, her breakdown is almost unbearable.
In contrast, “Up in the Air” was a confused, bleak mess of a movie, whose characters and plot points played like cartoons. It was written by a young Hollywood screenwriter who seems to have stumbled across the big themes of our time, but didn’t have a clue what to do with them. The fact that it’s up for best picture, and “Bright Star” isn’t … I’m losing hope for Hollywood. Again.
Donna Sandstrom is an Open Salon blogger. She lives in Seattle, Washington.More Donna Sandstrom.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.