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corplhicks
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PostSubject: Gravity   Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:36 pm

Looks amazing so far. Check out this review by trusted critic James Berardenilli:

Quote :
Wow.


If ever there was a case to be made for 3-D as a valuable cinematic tool, Alfonso Cuaron has made it. Put alongside Avatar and Hugo(with honorable mentions going toPrometheus and Life of Pi), Gravity shows the power of 3-D when applied effectively and with vision. The immersive quality is undeniable and in some ways indefinable. Cuaron's stated goal with Gravity is to put the viewer in space with the characters and he accomplishes this. The film will lose something if viewed in conventional 2-D and it will lose more when shrunk for home viewing. This is a review and a rating forGravity on a big screen in 3-D. That's the way Cuaron wants it to be seen. That's how he envisioned it, developed it, and filmed it. Hollywood has so badly overused and abused 3-D, turning it into a gimmicky cash cow, that it's almost shocking to acknowledge what it can add to the theatrical experience when employed by a director who knows what he's doing. Gravity isn't just a movie; it's almost transformative, and the visceral element is enhanced by the 3-D.

Cuaron's camera speaks more loudly than his screenplay. He opens Gravity with a 20-minute "unbroken" shot (following in the footsteps of something similar in Children of Men) that follows the two characters, astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), on a spacewalk as they complete improvements to the Hubble Telescope. The camera dips and dives and moves in close to give a sense of what it's like to be in orbit. Earth is a big, beautiful globe gleaming in the background. The accident, when it occurs, is shocking and brutal. As an untethered Ryan somersaults through space, the camera moves into her helmet and provides a first person point-of-view of her confusion. (Note: those sensitive to motion sickness may have a problem with this scene.) Throughout the entire production, Cuaron successfully strives to marry intimacy with the vastness of space. The 3-D is never excessive or superfluous. It's perfectly pitched for each scene.

The narrative is a fairly straightforward exploration of the difficulties faced by a woman alone fighting for survival. Although Clooney and Bullock make a nice pair, they are soon separated and the movie stays with Bullock as she battles seemingly impossible odds. Stranded in space with her only obvious means of escape smashed, she must confront new challenges and dangers - a fire, oxygen depletion, a lack of fuel, a storm of satellite debris - with only the simplest of goals: going home. She can see it but reaching it alive is a herculean task.

The level of tension is high. After a playful, relaxed first fifteen minutes, the movie never lets up (except during a brief interlude) and, although only 1 1/2 hours in length, the intensity is draining. (That's a good thing.) Ryan goes from bad situations to worse ones; it's almost as if Cuaron delights in using her to illustrate the relentless nature of Murphy's Law. In terms of getting the basics of space survival right, Gravitydeserves a place alongside Apollo 13. While that film is fact-based and this one is fictional, the details here are sufficiently precise to generate an undeniable sense of verisimilitude. Gravity is true science fiction, not watered-down or transformed into space opera or fantasy.

Sandra Bullock's contribution could easily be overlooked when one considers how much CGI is employed to craft the film's final look. Her performance here, however, is easily the best of her career, outstripping her overrated Oscar-winning role in The Blind Side. She runs the gamut of emotions from relief to despair and in many scenes must convey her internal state without dialogue and with the camera so close that the only thing we see is her face. Physically, the role is demanding, requiring her to be in peak physical condition. Like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, she has no one to play off for a majority of the film but, unlike Hanks, her character is under a potential death sentence. It's impossible to conceive of her not getting a Best Actress nomination for this part.

George Clooney is given co-billing with Bullock primarily because he's a legitimate movie star with proven box office draw. Those expecting to get a lot of Clooney will be disappointed as he's essentially out of the film before the half-hour mark. He and Bullock are the only actors to appear on-screen. Ed Harris provides the voice of Mission Control (a likely nod to his part in Apollo 13 - "failure in not an option").

With apologies to Clooney, Bullock's real co-star is the setting. Created entirely on computers, it's a wondrous thing to behold. It's not sleek and distant like what we see in Star Trek or Star Wars. It gives us the fragment of a sense of what it must be like to be in space, surrounded by silence, floating in a near vacuum, seeing everything with a clarity that can't be found anywhere on Earth. The planet's many flaws fall away and it is no longer defined by national boundaries but by land and sea.

The simplicity of the setup reminded me a little of Moon, the underrated Duncan Jones film starring Sam Rockwell. It has the same sort of mindset, even though this is more action-oriented and has a noticeably larger budget. Both films, however, deal with the concept of isolation in space. It's a powerful psychological underpinning and Gravity, like Moon, explores it effectively. In this case, we have the added benefit of state-of-the-art special effects and superior acting supplementing a well-defined narrative. Throw in some of the best 3-D ever and Gravity becomes the complete package. See it in a theater. If you wait for home viewing, it will still be worthwhile, but the impact won't be as strong.



Last edited by corplhicks on Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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corplhicks
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:39 pm

I'm not a fan of 3D, but it sure did help Prometheus quite a bit, and I'm wondering how it might work here. Two people floating in space? I can see how it would be f*cking cool.
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:44 pm

corplhicks wrote:
I'm not a fan of 3D, but it sure did help Prometheus quite a bit, and I'm wondering how it might work here. Two people floating in space? I can see how it would be f*cking cool.
Most of the reviews have stated the 3-D is absolutely essential to be able to fully experience the film.
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:58 pm

S.D. wrote:
corplhicks wrote:
I'm not a fan of 3D, but it sure did help Prometheus quite a bit, and I'm wondering how it might work here. Two people floating in space? I can see how it would be f*cking cool.
Most of the reviews have stated the 3-D is absolutely essential to be able to fully experience the film.
Hard to explain, but something about that disappoints me and excites me at the same time. But...it's space, Cuaron, survival, holding a 96 on metacritic, and I've agreed with Berardenelli 96% of the time, so here's to an open mind. My wife and I will be seeing it, 3D et al, this weekend. Babysitter scheduled.
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Orion Crystal Ice
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:01 pm

I'm wondering how this can stretch out to the length of a film. Probably will be a Redbox one for me.
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:05 pm

Orion Crystal Ice wrote:
I'm wondering how this can stretch out to the length of a film. Probably will be a Redbox one for me.
I always wonder the same thing about minimalist films and I mostly happen upon pleasant surprise. Examples: Open Water, Frozen, Moon. Buried has to be the best example. I had no idea how that was going to go and it ended up being so effective that my wife was in tears of horror by the end. And she never cries at movies.

I think with things like these Murphy's Law is key to the narrative arc.
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:11 pm

yeah. I mean, I want to see 'All Is Lost', but this one, not so much.

I wonder if I should check out 'Buried'..
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:11 pm

One of my friends (who is a color-timer for feature films) sent me this short email description:

My god... I'm still shaking from seeing this thing. Holy smokes, this is an absolutely fantastic film. I don't say this lightly. I've seen an awful lot of films in my time, and just the opening shot of this film -- which I think was about 13 minutes long -- absolutely blew my mind.

Since 2001 came out in 1968, when I was a little kid, I often thought about the enormity of what it would be like to be abandoned in space, spinning and spinning, surrounded by an infinity of stars, just waiting for your oxygen to run out. This is the first time I really felt like I was in outer space. It'll scare the living crap of you, and really make you think about how big the universe really is.

It's not a long film (about 90 minutes long), and the story is extremely simple, but by god, is it effective.

See it in Imax if you can.
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:15 pm

S.D. wrote:
One of my friends (who is a color-timer for feature films) sent me this short email description:

My god... I'm still shaking from seeing this thing. Holy smokes, this is an absolutely fantastic film.  I don't say this lightly. I've seen an awful lot of films in my time, and just the opening shot of this film -- which I think was about 13 minutes long -- absolutely blew my mind.

Since 2001 came out in 1968, when I was a little kid, I often thought about the enormity of what it would be like to be abandoned in space, spinning and spinning, surrounded by an infinity of stars, just waiting for your oxygen to run out. This is the first time I really felt like I was in outer space. It'll scare the living crap of you, and really make you think about how big the universe really is.

It's not a long film (about 90 minutes long), and the story is extremely simple, but by god, is it effective.

See it in Imax if you can.
Damn. Sounds like what I've been waiting for all my life. It's hard going into this thing with moderate expectations.
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:45 am

[size=12][size=12]
Still holding a 96 on Metacritic. My friends, even ones who don't share my taste in cinema, can't say enough good things about it. Critic on Roger Ebert's site gives it a perfect score. So does my all-time favorite independent critic, Richard Scheib of Moria.co.nz (genre fans will love, absolutely love, his deconstructionist approach to genre and b/z material). Here's his review:



    Gravity is a film that appears accompanied some sensational reviews, following its premieres at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. The word of mouth for the film has been exceptional with almost all having amazingly praiseworthy things to say about the performance by Sandra Bullock, who is being tipped for award nominations for her role.


    Gravity comes from Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron who co-writes with his son Jonas. Cuaron first appeared with the acclaimed Love in the Time of Hysteria (1991) and was quickly snapped up for the English-language children’s film A Little Princess (1995) and the modernised Great Expectations (1998). He returned to Mexico for the teenage sex drama Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001) and then was brought back for the third Harry Potter film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(2004), followed by the international acclaim of the dystopian science-fiction film Children of Men (2006). Gravity is also produced by Harry Potter series producer David Heyman.


    There have been films about space mission disasters before. Gravity has nominal similarities to Marooned (1969), a John Sturges film that focused around a trio of NASA astronauts abandoned in orbit inside a capsule following a mission failure.Starflight One (1983) and Spacecamp (1986) were other barely serious treatments on the theme of vessels trapped in orbit. There is of course a good deal of similarity to Ron Howard’s similarly widely praised and awards-friendly Apollo 13 (1995), a dramatisation of the true-life space mission disaster that occurred in 1970. The film that one kept being reminded of most though was Brian De Palma’s unjustly reviled Mission to Mars (2000), which had a very similar, scientifically authentic sequence where astronauts attempt to rescue a crew member who is adrift in orbit, of which Gravity often feels like a feature-length expansion of that scene.


    An extraordinary amount has gone into Gravity. Unlike Apollo 13 where Ron Howard shot in the famous Vomit Comet, a high-flying NASA plane that allows a brief period of zero gravity as it conducts a steep rise and dive, virtually the entire film has been shot greenscreen or with the two actors in motion capture suits and the surroundings digitally inserted later. This allows them to easily replicate zero g physics without the usual clumsy effects of actors and a couple of pen floating in front of their face on wires we have had in lesser-budgeted space travel films. Cuaron talks how the movements that Sandra Bullock conducted were rehearsed down to the nth degree, even how the way she breathes on screen was used to convey emotion.


    The results show through impressively on screen. This is one of the few science-fiction films that show the reality of space – the vastness, aloneness and coldness of the void, and especially how one is removed from notions like up and down or the assumptions that something will fall or can be picked up when you drop it. Films and tv shows like Star Wars (1977) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-94) have given us what you could call a cuddly version of space – where planets and solar systems seem no more than a plane flight apart, where gravity is something that is conveniently ignored with magic terms like ‘artificial gravity’ or ships can bank and roll like WWII fighter planes, and where sound effects are allowed to carry in a vacuum.Gravity restores scientific credibility to its depiction. Contrast the intensity of the space scenes here with the spacesuit flight through the debris field in the same year’s Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013), which played it as an action sequence, and you see how much more there is here simply by treating everything with a rigorous scientific realism.


    The film is welcomely scrupulous about the airlessness of space, thus there is no sound in the vacuum – we see explosions occurring behind people in total silence. There is a dazzling scene where George Clooney re-enters the Soyuz and Sandra Bullock sits in terror as the air goes out as he opens the airlock door and he enters the capsule in his bulky suit, wrestling into the seat beside her all in complete silence. Everything in the film is conveyed by the voices on the radio and the distant clank and rumble of ships docking. No wonder then that the score goes into overdrive to create the drama that the silence cannot. The scientific credibility goes even further than that – down to tiny touches like when Sandra Bullock cries, the tears form into droplets that float up and away from her eyes unnoticed, or seeing the fire inside the International Space Station forming in tiny globules. The film probably can get no better kudos in this department than having real-life astronaut Buzz Aldrin call it “remarkable.”


    The drama that Alfonso Cuaron manages to build is sensational. When the camera is up in orbit, you are dazzled by the depth and clarity of the images of the Earth below, the beauty of the sunrises coming up behind the shadow of the world or the aurora at play over the poles. There is the intense effort made to place one inside the experience of being in orbit – from shots from inside the space helmets to the way the 3D camera twirls and moves with a sinuous elegance as though it too were weightless. The first few minutes of the film with the camera drifting around the Hubble and shuttle, floating with them in silence but for the chatter of their voices and mission control or country music playing on the radio, leaves the entire audience dazzled. As too does the abrupt drama of Sandra Bullock being swung away from the space arm and her panic at being left spinning as she drifts off into the empty void of the night, followed by George Clooney’s subsequent jetpack rescue. Some of the scenes leaving you gouging the armrest with the sheer tension – the breathlessness of the docking with the International Space Station where Bullock is left hanging off a parachute rope by her foot with Clooney threatening to tug her away and she begging him not to release the tether. Especially hair-raising are the scenes where the debris impacts with the International Space Station while she is out untethering the Soyuz and we see the space station exploding behind and all around her in silence and are expecting her to be hit at any moment. Not to mention her hair-raising leap into the void across to the Chinese space station. It is that example of the rare film where one’s adrenalin is still pumping as you leave the theatre and head home.


    What is being talked about more than anything in the film is Sandra Bullock’s performance. I am not sure I am quite ready to start citing awards nominations as everybody else seems to be doing but she does play with an enormous degree of conviction. What must be said is that is feels a role tailor made for Bullock’s slightly shy and awkward persona. Bullock was apparently one of many actresses considered for the part. Angelina Jolie was associated for some time, and after her departure a number of other actresses, including Blake Lively, Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson were touted in the role. Seeing Bullock in the role, it seems hard to conceive Jolie with her perfect collagen pout and cat eyes subsuming herself to the part, while it surely would have been totally out of the acting range of any of the others – could you really say that you think Blake Lively, another anonymous Hollywood blonde, would be capable of accruing awards quality acting in the part? Or that 2006’s It Girl Johansson would be capable of being anything other than Scarlett Johansson playing an astronaut? George Clooney slots into his role with the effortless charm and charisma he seems to have off in his sleep by now. 
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:04 pm

I'll likely be seeing it tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:21 am

Definitely a 3D experience (and I usually dislike 3D!). It looks amazing, and holds your interest throughout. Don't wait for it to go to home rental!
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PostSubject: Re: Gravity   Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:54 pm

it is great in 3d
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