I kept telling HE's Jeffrey Wells that there is absolutely no chance in hell that 20th Century Fox’s James Gray sci-fi movie "Ad Astra" (which was meant to be released in mid-January) would receive an Academy-qualifying release in December. No chance. Gray's films are not Oscar-bait. He's a lone-wolf who goes by his own creative juices. So of course, unsurprisingly, it was announced yesterday that Gray's “epic science fiction thriller” is now set for release on May 24th, 2019. You can put a Cannes premiere in the bank with that date now settled-in.
Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland and Jamie Kennedy costar in "Ad Astra."
Last we heard from Gray was his 2017 film "The Lost City of Z," a beautiful, surreal and ambitious project which had some meandering parts but the overall impact was stunningly surreal, mainly due to the incredible jungle sequences.
Gray has become one of the very best, most interesting American filmmakers around, I believe it all started with 2007's "We Own the Night," mainly due to its 70s American cinema aesthetic and some of the best car chase sequences I have ever seen, but especially with 2009's "Two Lovers," one of the most underrated films of the last 20 years. I was iffy about 2014's "The Immigrant," but you can't deny there's a certain kind of beautifully realized classicism to Gray's filmmaking. He's making movies that are all, but, going extinct these days in the populous and highly stylized cinematic American market. God bless his purist ambitions.