The Perfect Pull of Gravity

GRAVITY's stunning opening sucks you in.

GRAVITY’s stunning opening sucks you in.

In our era of instant interconnectedness, ADD and immediate gratification, Alfonso Cuaron’s bold new film, Gravity, demands viewers to Watch…and Listen.

The film opens with a spectacular continuous long shot of planet Earth from outer space.  Slowly we begin to hear the static-laden chatter of astronauts and mission control grow louder and clearer while the camera leisurely pans in closer and closer to those working outside of a shuttle docked at the Hubble Space telescope.  First-time space traveler, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is installing a new scanning device to give NASA a better way to watch the skies in deep space.  Longtime astral cowboy Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is out for a “Sunday drive” around the shuttle and telescope overseeing things while telling tales and keeping things light with mission control.  But then a frantic warning comes from Houston.  Stay calm.  Get back inside.  The Russians have taken out one of their own satellites.  The debris is traveling high above the globe at breakneck speed slamming into other satellites and anything in its way causing an avalanche of deadly metal to come hurtling right towards our dear crew.  Suddenly, in the vast distance of blackness above a blue and white sphere, the debris is coming into view.

The next ninety minutes become an epic cosmic ballet of white-knuckle suspense, eye-popping visuals and ensorcell acting.  Shot in 3D, the photography of Emmaneul Lubezki (who previously luxuriated in the magic of the cosmos in Malick’s The Tree of Life) is wholly immersive under Cuaron’s self-assured direction.  Cuaron spins his Oscar-winning mega stars through the calamities like a choreographer or puppeteer without strings.  There’s not a single moment in the film’s airtight run time where the director isn’t in complete control.  Continue reading

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Have You Been Eaten by a Piranha?

Sea…Sex…and Blood…in 3D.  And you thought this would be a good idea to bring your seven-year old son to see this?  Yup, that’s right, America…some genius brought his kid in to see Piranha 3D on a Tuesday night.  And get this…he didn’t walk out of the theater until the Eli Roth lead wet t-shirt contest about half way through after we already witnessed some gnarly fish attacks and two babes do an underwater ballet in the buff.  At least the father finally realized his idiocy…but, man…that seven year-old must have had the time of his life up until that moment.  I imagine the father was recently divorced, and he had the kid for the last week of summer and thought, hey, I saw that Piranha movie when I was a kid, and I loved it and turned out just fine!  What a great opportunity to bond with junior!  Ah, the best laid plans of clueless parents…

But, I digress.  Sacre bleu, Alexandre Aja…what in Elizabeth Shue have you gotten into here?  Continue reading

The Great Escape Part Two

In 1933 at the height of the Great Depression, madman film producer/explorer Meriam C. Cooper pulled out all the stops to take viewers to an uncharted isle where the most monstrous of beasts was revealed to be the most tragically human creature of them all.  King Kong was the greatest escape of its day.  In 2009, while the world still tries to recover from the greatest economic downslide since the Great Depression, madman technological wizard/director James Cameron pulls out all the stops to take viewers to an alien world where the most monstrous of humans is revealed to be the most tragically alien creature of them all.  Avatar is yet another in a long line of escapist fantasies bankrolled by Hollywood.  Continue reading