Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sandra Bullock and Jane Fonda (Gravity review)

Watch Sandra Bullock strip off in space like Barbarella and pilot a Soyuz like it's the Millennium Falcon! - Seriously - it is rarely you see a mature actress, absolutely not trying to do anything but survive, look fantastic, AND act the pants off everyone else in the movie.

Admittedly that is pretty much only George Clooney, who only seems to be repeating his characters from the coffee ads. Clooney does perform a warm role in a cold movie but really serves to set up emotional scenes so Bullock can hit them for six. Really nice to hear Ed Harris again as the voice of Mission Control (as he was in Apollo 13).

If you don't see GRAVITY on a big screen you will really kick yourself. The first movie I've ever seen that I forgot I was watching in 3D, it makes Avatar look like House of Wax.

Steven Price's jaw dropping soundtrack never seems to get mentioned. It seems to be half way beween Hans Zimmers work for Christopher Nolan films and Ligetti's 2001 music. Another reason to see this in a decent cinema.

I think it is time to say that director Alfonso Cuarón, after Children of Men, is a genius. The 3D we should be paying attention to here not that seen by the audience (great as it is) it is the dimensions used by the director, as this film has no up or down for nearly it's entire length. Cuarón uses the entire screen and all the dizzying perspective like a zero-G Hitchcock. Even the very soundlessness of vacuum itself is used for dramatic effect, as astronauts try to deliberately and careful unhook themselves in the foreground, unaware that high speed mass destruction is happening just over their shoulder.

Much as I've gone into overload on Pacific Rim, and Rush recently Gravity is a classic movie that will be half as good on on a small screen. Likely it will be referenced for years just for the technical detail
"piloting the Shenzou will be just like the Soyuz" (no it isn't)

Other matters
It would be churlish of me to mention Jane Fonda's Barbarella without noting her cameo on The Newsroom recently.

We regularly talk now about US cable mini-series being on the same level as great movies. I wouldn't put Aaron Soorkin's The Newsroom at the very top, much as I love it myself, but Jane Fonda's lightening bolt intervention at the end of S2 is the best cameo I've ever seen in an HBO series.
If you've followed this plot for a while it is based on CBS news and Dan Rather being mysteriously setup and discredited as they investigated Geroge W Bush. When the Newsroom debacle hits the fan in the face of Network owner Leona Lansing you'll just want to stand up and cheer.
Climax of The Newsroom S2E7 "Red Team III"

And thanks to Vue Islington
Back to Gravity - I've seen Pacific Rim, Rush and now Gravity at Vue Islington and hugely enjoyed all three. Quality of movies helps (all groundbreakers I think in their respective genres, Gravity is a stone cold classic movie full stop) but the seats, the quality of the screen, the sound and great and friendly staff all helped make for a great night out. Ordinarily I would be looking for an indie cinema first off but I needed serious visuals and sound for these movies and this well run example of a chain cinema delivered each time.

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