Alex Kecskes

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of film reviews and celebrity interviews for a wide variety of online and print outlets. He has covered red carpet premieres and Comic-Con events for major films and independent releases.

“Journey to Space” Reveals Past, Present and Future of Space Exploration in 4K Realism

Narrated by a deep-space captain we all know—Patrick Stewart—Journey To Space reveals in stunning, 4K realism how NASA and other space adventurers are boldly taking on the challenges of interplanetary space travel. Highlighted by extensive interviews with astronauts Chris Ferguson (Commander of the final shuttle mission) and Serena Aunon (a new astronaut chosen for future flights), Journey To Space delivers a breathtaking overview of past space achievements, current projects and future plans, including a number of Mars missions.

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Journey To Space underscores how the Space Shuttle program led the way in moving us into the space station era, a critically important step in preparing astronauts for journeys to Mars and beyond. We see astronauts at work and play in the confines of this tubular home circling the globe every 90 minutes. Perhaps not since the film, Gravity, have viewers been treated to some of the most spectacular space footage—including stunning views of Earth and work on the Hubble Space Telescope.

International Space Station (ISS)
International Space Station (ISS)

Watching the International Space Station (ISS) being assembled is an awesome visual treat. We see how astronauts learn to live, build and conduct science in space, laying the foundation for the next giant leaps to explore the planets.

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Among the major highlights of the film are the many parallel efforts to place humans on Mars. The film explores in fascinating and realistic detail how astronauts will travel, land and live on the Red Planet. We learn the many ways our early Mars pioneers will survive on a lifeless world, the habitats they will build, and the many physical and psychological challenges they will face after years of isolation from Earth.

Mars mission
Mars mission

Also documented in stunning visual detail is Orion, a spacecraft designed to carry humans on long-duration deep space missions throughout the solar system. We learn about Olympus, an inflatable transportation habitat that’s 50-feet in diameter and provides astronauts the work area and living space necessary for long-duration missions. And finally, the Space Launch System (SLS) is presented in detail, showing how its huge rocket will carry spacecraft, Mars landers and ascent vehicles to place astronauts on the surface of Mars.

Mars habitat
Mars habitat

Journey to Space should inspire a new generation of astronauts to explore space, while reminding us of the accomplishments of the Space Shuttle Program, the ISS and the many unmanned Mars missions.

 

Rocky Mountain Express: A Breathtaking Journey into Railroading History

A giant screen experience that re-ignites the magic of Canada’s historic steam age, Rocky Mountain Express centers on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The film shot in IMAX highlights the nation’s emerging steam technology and the humanity of this enormous project.

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To establish a true sense of realism, the documentary was filmed using a helicopter and gyro-stabilized camera. To give viewers a truly intimate experience of steam power, IMAX cameras were also mounted throughout the train. Employing these extraordinary efforts helped capture the journey of Empress (CPR 2816), a steam locomotive built in 1930 and recently restored by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

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The film explores the heroic journey in mapping routes through impossibly difficult terrain, then goes on to document the construction of the railroad track. Viewers are treated to the stunning and diverse Canadian landscape via breathtaking views of mountains, valleys and hills, through 5-mile long tunnels and soaring bridges and trestles.

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The film also explores the personal pain and struggles of railroad workers, their sacrifices and lost lives as they inched their way through mountains of rock and snow. Animated 3D maps and carefully restored archival images provide insights into the building of this massive 3,000-mile transcontinental railway through some of roughest terrain on Earth.

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Filmed with full 15/70 negative, Rocky Mountain Express employs the world’s largest film format. Every bit of this technology is visible on the screen. Breathing life into the steam engines of yesteryear, the film’s sound has been faithfully captured and rendered in six-channel sound. The original musical score by celebrated composer Michel Cusson adds to the emotional ambiance of this era and to the film’s more poignant moments.

 

In Order of Disappearance: Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgard)
Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgard)

A surprisingly enjoyable action flick, In Order of Disappearance unites Fargoesque elements with Dirty Harry street justice, piling up bodies faster than snow off a road plow. Hans Petter Moland’s gritty thriller draws on an everyman protagonist to work his way up the crime tree of dirt-bag criminals and sequentially dispense justice with Old Testament ferocity.

Death of Nils' son
Death of Nils’ son

After some bottom-of-food chain bad guys rig the death of his son, Ingvar, to look like an overdose, mild mannered Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgard) initially takes the blame and nearly offs himself with a rifle. But most viewers know better than to expect a protagonist to die so quickly, which is why it’s no surprise when we learn that Ingvar was murdered. And why the ostensibly docile Nils embarks on “digging two graves” for his son’s murder, uprooting the heretofore-cerebral crime paradigm of Scandinavian cinema. Among the mob soldiers Nils dispenses (with the help of his huge snowplow) is the likeable Strike (Game of Thrones Kristofer Hivju). It’s a bit more than a cameo, and there’s a good-guy-bad-guy camaraderie moment that gives the scene a bit of moral balance.

Kristofer Hivju and Stellan Skarsgard
Kristofer Hivju and Stellan Skarsgard

Nils clearing the Norwegian backwater with a giant yellow snowplow becomes an arresting metaphor for his life, removing obstructions in a physically cold, cruel world. And what better obstruction to remove than a crime family bent on expansion? With tongue-in-cheek tombstone solemnity, Nils’ enemies are dispatched and recorded on black screen—a nice, subtle comedic touch. During a visit to Nils’ estranged brother, Egil (Peter Andersson)—his former “wingman”—we learn that in his misspent youth, Nils picked up a few street survival “talents.” It’s a History of Violence moment that underscores Nils’ ability to dispatch goons with such lean efficiency.

Snow plow justice
Snow plow justice

Nils’ nemesis is a young ponytailed crime boss known simply as “the Count” (Pal Sverre Hagen). The second-generation mobster inherited the business from papa, but his hot temper and impatience eventually cause him to underestimate Nils. The Count seems to have his hands full in areas that extend beyond running the family business. A B-story that underscores his “husband/father of the year” persona is the Count’s ongoing fight with his ex-wife (Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) over custody of their son.

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Square pegged into crime boss status, the Count is repeatedly outwitted by Nils’ blue-collar tactics. Outmatched by a rival gang of Serbians, he unwittingly responds to “an insult” with the wrong “message.” Doing an admirable job as the Serbian’s avuncular capo di tutt’i capi is “Papa” (Bruno Ganz), a likeable sort and heavy counter weight to the impulsive Count. The final, shell-casing-littered standoff dovetails the Good, the Bad and the Ugly and is as satisfying as a gulp of ice-cold soda after a bucket of salty popcorn.

“Papa” (Bruno Ganz
“Papa” (Bruno Ganz)

 

Writer Beau Smith and Tim Rozon (Doc Holliday) talk WYNONNA EARP

At the roundtable with writer Beau Smith and Tim Rozon talking about Wynonna Earp. Beau Smith has written for every major comic book publisher, including DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Eclipse Comics, Dreamwave Studios and Dark Horse Comics. Tim Rozon, who plays the enigmatic Doc Holliday has appeared in Schitt’s Creek, Crossfire and Being Human. Read more

Press, Celebs Enjoy Respite from Comic-con Madness at WIRED Cafe

Liam Cunningham (selfie by James Kecskes)
Liam Cunningham
(selfie by James Kecskes)

WIRED Cafe once again provided a welcome retreat for press and celebs during the Comic-Con madness. The one-day invitation only retreat atop the rooftop terrace at San Diego’s Omni Hotel included drinks and tasty finger foods to re-energize attendees. Celebs on scene included Liam Cunningham, Alexander DiPersia, Maria Bello, and Teresa Palmer.

 

Frankie Adams & Shohreh Aghdashloo talk Expanse at 2016 Comic-con

At the roundtable with Frankie Adams and Shohreh Aghdashloo talking about the popular ski-fi TV series The Expanse at 2016 Comic-con. Hundreds of years in the future, humans have colonized the solar system and Mars has become an independent military power. Rising tensions between Earth and Mars have put them on the brink of war. Against this backdrop, a hardened detective and a rogue ship’s captain come together to investigate the case of a missing young woman. The investigation leads them on a race across the solar system that could expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.See also my interview with Cas Anvar Read more

NBC Digital Network Party Draws Top Talent

NBC rooftop party
NBC rooftop party

Featuring stars from Blindspot, Emerald City, Grimm, Powerless and Timeless, NBC’s Digital Network Party was host to top TV talent. The 6th annual, invite only soiree was once again held at the rooftop of the Andaz Hotel in San Diego. Partygoers were treated to plenty of good food and drinks as well as the opportunity to mix and mingle with NBC regulars and fellow press.

Blindspot talent
Blindspot talent

I ran into Sullivan Stapleton who plays Kurt Weller in Blindspot. He intimated that there might be a movie in the works for Strike Back, a popular British/American TV series whose final episode aired on July 29, 2015. I also ran into the beautiful Jaimie Alexander who said that it takes up to 6 hours to put on all those tattoos she wears in Blindspot.

 

Nylon and NVE the Experience Agency Present Star-Studded After-Con Party at Omnia Nightclub San Diego

Partygoers at Nylon NVE Party
Partygoers at Nylon NVE Party

The stars came out during NYLON/NVE The Experience Agency’s After-Con party on Thursday, July 21. at San Diego’s OMNIA Nightclub. Attendees included Teen Wolf’s Holland Roden, “I am Legend’s” Alexander DiPersia, and Kristian Nairn (“Game of Thrones” Hodor).

Violett Bean
Violett Bean

Musician Andre 3000 was spotted enjoying the festivities with long-time girlfriend Dominique Maldanado. Actor Tyler Posey arrived with younger brother Jesse Posey.  The “Man in the High Castle” stars met up with their newest co-star Bellla Heathcote, who recently announced that she will be joining the cast as a series regular on Amazon’s hit drama.

Andre 3000
Andre 3000

Shortly thereafter, Miguel Gomez arrived with fellow co-star Kevin Durand. “The Strain” stars were spotted celebrating the release of their spoof rap video “Vamps Boom.” Other notable attendees included: Casper Van Dien, Cody Christian, Ian Bohen, JR Bourne, Mecad Brooks, Nina Sky, Shane West, Tara Reid and Zelda Williams.

Bella Heathcote
Bella Heathcote

Ending the party with a bang, DMX hit the stage for a surprise performance, which included hits such as “Up in Here” and “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” as revelers sang along to every single lyric.

Tyler Posey
Tyler Posey