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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

‘Apollo 18’: not screened for critics, and not approved by NASA — connection?

Apollo 18

Get out your tinfoil hats and fire up your conspiracy gland: the Weinstein Co. most likely lost NASA’s blessing and is keeping Apollo 18 secret even from critics because it’s all true. You just have to read between the lines of this Los Angeles Times article:

A number of this summer’s openly fictional films — Michael Bay’s alien robot sequel “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Terrence Malick’s celestial drama “The Tree of Life,” the speculative sci-fi indie “Another Earth” — have wrestled with galactic themes and relied on NASA scientists, materials and imagery. Last year, in fact, the U.S. space agency collaborated on nearly 100 documentaries, 35 TV shows and 16 feature films.

But after initially touting “Apollo 18” as one of its upcoming fiction film collaborations, NASA — which, for the record, says the last manned mission to the moon was Apollo 17 in 1972 — has begun to back away from the movie.

See? See?! NASA was for Apollo 18 before it was against it. Clearly the most likely explanation is that NASA discovered just how close to the truth the filmmakers got!

“Apollo 18 is not a documentary,” said Bert Ulrich, NASA’s liaison for multimedia, film and television collaborations. “The film is a work of fiction, and we always knew that. We were minimally involved with this picture. We never even saw a rough cut. The idea of portraying the Apollo 18 mission as authentic is simply a marketing ploy. Perhaps a bit of a ‘Blair Witch Project’ strategy to generate hype.”

“The film is a work of fiction, and we always knew that.” Riiiiight…

As for “Apollo 18,” the Weinstein Co. has refused to show it in advance to the media or answer questions about its origins.

OMG! That whole not-screened-for-critics stuff? Totally not because it’s a crappy flick opening (in the States, at least) over the end-of-summer holiday, which is traditionally a slow one for moviegoing. Nooooo! Weinstein is protecting critics, or, er, um, something. We can’t handle the truth!

And there are questions about the films origins.

The studio acquired the screenplay (by newcomer Brian Miller, the winner of a screenwriting contest founded by Russian director-producer Timur Bekmambetov) at the American Film Market in Santa Monica in November and began shooting six weeks later in Vancouver, Canada, under the direction of Spanish filmmaker Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego.

The film went into production six weeks later? Impossible! Clearly this is just a cover story. I mean, it’s so blatant a lie that it’s like they want us to know it’s a lie.

At the time of the script’s acquisition, the studio issued a press release that read: “Bekmambetov, hired by Russia to shoot a documentary about the Russian space station, recently came across footage in its space archives that bolsters the idea that an Apollo 18 mission did, in fact, take place, and reveals startling evidence of extra-terrestrial life forms. This actual footage will be part of Apollo 18, a paranormal thriller that will interpolate fact and fiction.”

Three hours later, the studio retracted that release and replaced it with a “corrected version without the factual error,” which eliminated the reference to Bekmambetov’s discovery.

Yup! Just like how the U.S. Air Force in 1947 issued a press release announcing that they had captured a crashed flying saucer at Roswell, New Mexico, and then turned rlght around five minutes later and said, “Oh, no, never mind, our bad: it was only a weather balloon.”

I mean, who ya gonna believe? The first press release, the one that always comes blurting out in moment of candor? Or the second one, the one that spins and obfuscates?

I am announcing publicly right here that I shall be attending the first public screening of Apollo 18 at the Vue cinema in Croydon tomorrow morning. If you don’t hear back from me by afternoon, you’ll know I’ve discovered something that They don’t want you to know, and so they’ve shut me up somehow. I’ll probably be a prisoner at Area 51 or something. And then they’ll never be able to let me go, cuz I’ll really know too much.

The truth is out there, my friends.



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