You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


Adventuresome spin on breakthrough science should wow 'em in targeted educational venues.

With: Mark Devlin, Barth Netterfield.

The disastrous launch of a balloon toting an innovative sub-millimeter telescope sends “Blast!” director Paul Devlin to Sweden, then to Antarctica, on the trail of his scientist brother Mark — who, together with Toronto physicist Barth Netterfield, is heading this seat-of-the-pants operation. Though it touches on astrophysical principles, illustrated with spectacular, NASA-generated mock-ups of deep space, the docu’s dramatic payload revolves more around earthbound challenges posed by the launch. Despite the gratuitous insertion of a religious-vs.-agnostic debate, this adventuresome spin on breakthrough science should wow ’em in targeted educational venues after bowing June 12 at Gotham’s Cinema Village.

Helmer Devlin (“Power Trip,” “Slam Nation”) captures the essence of hands-on scientific research: Far removed from the usual sterile NASA protocol, the telescope is largely assembled and calibrated by the head astrophysicists’ graduate students, collectively roughing it miles from home. Crossing the same Antarctic terrain as Werner Herzog’s “Encounters at the End of the World,” the pic climaxes in absurdism worthy of Herzog’s doomed mad geniuses: the desperate hunt for a small white cylinder packed with incalculably valuable data, now invisible against vast stretches of ice and snow.


Production: A Devlin production, in association with BBB Storyville/Discovery Channel Canada/SVT Sweden/YLE/FST Finland/ARTE France. Produced by Paul Devlin, Claire Missanelli. Executive producer, Nick Fraser. Co-producer, Louise Rosen. Directed, edited by Paul Devlin.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Devlin; editor, Devlin; co-editor, Laura Minnear; music, Richard Martinez. Reviewed at Soho House, New York, May 27, 2009. (In 2008 Hot Docs Film Festival, Toronto.) Running time: 74 MIN.

With: With: Mark Devlin, Barth Netterfield.

More Film

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Oscars Placeholder

    Make-Up and Hair Stylist Guild Applauds Academy's Stance on Airing Every Oscar Winner

    Rowdy boos were followed by triumphant cheers at the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles, as the Hollywood union touched on a week of controversy over a reversed decision to hand out four Oscars during the show’s commercial breaks. Hair and makeup was one of the four categories that would [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler to Perform on the Oscars (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. Midler, a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, will sing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns.” The song, by Shaiman and his lyricist partner Scott Wittman, is one of five [...]

  • Olmo Teodoro Cuaron, Alfonso Cuaron and

    Alfonso Cuarón Tells Why His Scoreless 'Roma' Prompted an 'Inspired' Companion Album

    Back around the ‘90s, “music inspired by the film” albums got a bad name, as buyers tired of collections full of random recordings that clearly were inspired by nothing but the desire to use movie branding to launch a hit song. But Alfonso Cuarón, the director of “Roma,” is determined to find some artistic validity [...]

  • Berlin Film Festival 2019 Award Winners

    Berlin Film Festival 2019: Nadav Lapid's 'Synonyms' Wins Golden Bear

    Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s “Synonyms,” about a young Israeli man in Paris who has turned his back on his native country, won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale on Saturday. The Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize went to François Ozon’s French drama “By the Grace of God,” a fact-based account of the Catholic Church [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content