Gravity


Viewed – 08 March 2014 pay-per-view

The type of movie that sells itself from the trailer alone.  Seeing Sandra Bullock being flung around space as a space station shatters around her was both exhilarating and exciting … what was this?  It felt fresh and new, a whole new cinematic ‘experience’ that finally warranted the dawn of 3D.

GRAVITY

I can’t watch 3D, something to do with the fact I am only partially sited in one eye.  Shame I know, but for the most part I’m not bothered.  This however was the first movie I have seen where I really wish I could have seen it in all it’s multi-dimensional glory.  Sandra Bullock is an astronaut working at a space station orbiting earth along with seasoned astronaut George Clooney.  However when disaster strikes they are left stranded and floating in the ominous void of space with limited oxygen and limited hope, with no communication with back home.  Will they survive?

I thought immediately this was a stunning looking movie, with the special effects, sound-design and camera work all state-of-the-art, transporting this viewer right there and believe me, that’s a unnerving place to be.  Director Alfonso Cuarón (Children Of Men) cements his growing reputation as a visual auteur, delivering moments that truly challenge what is possible on film.  How some of these shots were achieved  baffles me, but that’s the magic of cinema.  Bullock is very good in the central role, even if I’d have liked a bit more desperate emotion out of her (but still looks great in and erm, out of her suit), and Clooney is basically Clooney, charismatic but nothing we haven’t seen from him a dozen times.  Also that moment Bullock starts barking to a radio transmission … bit odd that.

Yet this is a movie that is all about experience, about being there, about feeling disorientated and about hoping everything turns out ok.  In which respect, it excels.

Verdict:  4 /5

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Children Of Men


Viewed – 31 May 2009  DVD

I had heard very good things about this, and as a growing admirer of Clive Owen, and hearing this was one of his best roles, well, that’s just a no brainer, isn’t it?  Based on the novel by P.D. James, this follows the gritty story of an ex-activist who becomes unwittingly involved in the deportation of a pregnant women, in a future London setting where the human race has become infertile, with no child born in eighteen years.

Alfonso Cuaron’s powerful film seems staged on  a battle field with everything ready to blow at any given minute.  The chaotic scenes of combat between immigrants, resistance and military is up their with battles from Saving Private Ryan, and just as heart-stopping.  Owen is the gravity at the centre of the chaos and his performance is assured, even if supporting cast are portrayed wafer thin, with only a comic-turn from Michael Caine really standing out.  What ultimately lets this down though, despite the wealth of acclaim I’ve heard is that the story although interesting, is a tad confusing and its hard to completely understand why some people are doing certain things.  Thankfully the cinematography and stunningly staged action makes up for such short comings, and this remains an incredible film to look at.

So maybe, although its a thinker of sorts, with its topical subject and believable portrayal of the future, sometimes its better to just switch your brain off and enjoy the fire works.

Verdict:  3 /5