Gravity (Film Review)

Gravity (Film Review)

It is hard to see a film that is so critically acclaimed, and then have a bunch of negative things to say about it. Such is the case with Gravity for me.

First off, it should be noted that I am a simple person who never saw this sci-fi film on the big screen, where it would have been a million times better than on my lackluster TV screen. Gravity is a massive film, and deserves to be seen on the screen. So I will not speak to the effects or grandeur of the film, since I never bore witness to it. Instead, I will focus on the film itself, instead of all the fancy effects and impressiveness of seeing everything on a massive screen in front of me.

gravity2For me, Gravity was a mixture of thrills, tedium, and preposterous situations. There were moments of this movie where you could feel yourself sliding to the edge of your seat, not entirely sure what was going to happen next. In the vast emptiness of space, it is easy to feel uneasy about being out there, all alone, with barely any hope to cling to. Yet that was balanced by a couple of characters (literally, two) that couldn’t really hold interest for too long. George Clooney, one of my favorite actors, was kind of annoying in this film, and his fate never seemed in doubt, even though there was no characterization or story as to why he would be such a heroic man. All we really know about his character is that he likes to talk and tell random stories, and he is obsessed with having the longest space walk record. Aside from that, nothing. We know nothing about his character as a man. And that plays as a huge flaw in the film.

gravity3The other star of the film, Sandra Bullock, received rave reviews and an Oscar nomination for her role as the scientist on board the doomed spacecraft. As with Clooney, we know next to nothing about her. The only revelation of her past is during the strange time when she and Clooney are shooting through space on the way to the International Space Station, when it is revealed that she had a daughter who died. It’s fine to create a fairly flat character, even in a lead role, but it made it more difficult to really care what happened to her in the end. When a film is based solely on two people carrying the movie, and hoping to enthrall the audience with emotions at their fates, they had better be characters that we really care about. In this sense, Gravity failed.

Sure, Bullock is good at demonstrating panic, and her fear comes across as very real. It is not a poor acting performance, by any stretch. In fact, she is very good with what she is given.

gravity4There is very little that I actually understand about science and space, but to me, so many of the things that transpired in the film seemed to be truly off-kilter. I’m sure there are plenty of space people who could say how realistic the film actually was, but to me, it came across as pretty far-fetched at points; especially around the ending of the film. This wasn’t a make-or-break thing for me, and I never mind suspending some disbelief, but I did feel like it took away from the film a little bit, since there were parts that I simply couldn’t believe, and get behind.

Gravity is a spectacle, and in the end, I quite enjoyed the film. But it is flawed, as a film on its own. I wish I could have seen it in the cinema, where I could have enjoyed the incredible visuals that garnered this film a good haul of technical Oscars.

But when it comes down to it, looking at Gravity simply as a story, it is just ok.

Oscars 2014: DiCaprio, Lawrence, Midnight

Oscars 2014: DiCaprio, Lawrence, Midnight

oscarThere was a time when I would take the time every year to go and see the majority of the Oscar-nominated films. I would do my best to see all of the Best Picture nominees, and even make an effort to see some of the acting ones, if they were especially highly regarded, or were of interest to me.

My days of being a cinephile are over, and now I have accepted my fate as someone who will “wait for it to turn up on Netflix,” before checking it out. It may be a sad fate for a fan of movies, but going to the theater has become that much of an expensive inconvenience.

So, this year, I have actually seen almost zero of the films in question. None of the Best Picture nominees, none of the acting ones. I think the only film I have seen is the Best Adapted Screenplay nominated Before Midnight. I wrote a long blog about that movie, and even though I’m pretty sure it won’t win, I will be cheering for it to win, since I hold that film, and the whole trilogy, in the very highest regards.

Without having a vested interest in which films actually win, I am forced to the sidelines, to cheer for people that I hope will win, even though I probably know that they won’t. The way things are looking, it could be a really good day for 12 Years A Slave and Gravity, just based on what I have been reading leading up to the event tonight.

  • I will cheer wholeheartedly for Leonardo DiCaprio. He is, simply put, the best actor of this generation (I would count Daniel Day-Lewis as the best ever, but not of this generation, since he makes so few movies. However, each and every one he makes is worthy of an Oscar). He probably should, or could, have several Oscars by this point in his career. These are some of the movies I feel he could have picked up some hardware for: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Basketball Diaries, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Blood Diamond, Revolutionary Road, Inception, Django Unchained, The Wolf of Wall Street. That is a pretty hefty list of excellent performances. How has he not won yet? I understand that in a lot of years, it depends on who you are up against, but come on people. This is getting to the point of silliness. Does the Academy hate him just because he was in Titanic? They shouldn’t, since they gave that movie a million other awards. I want him to get his statue. And then I want him to get many more. The Academy has missed the boat too many times with him, and despite his fine performances going unawarded, it is time to start paying him back. leo
  • I know Jennifer Lawrence won a gold guy last year, but I’ll still cheer for her to win another this year. Typically, it seems that actresses are given the Supporting Actress nod before Best Actress, but for Lawrence, I hope she gets one of each. She really is America’s Sweetheart at this moment, and as we know with the media, this won’t last. I want her to get what she can, while she can. She is a great actress, funny, beautiful, and everybody loves her. Plus, in Hollywood, she is actually a great inspiration and role model for girls. There aren’t many.

    PS-I'm fairly sure I'm in love with her.
    PS-I’m fairly sure I’m in love with her.
  • I really do want Before Midnight to win for Best Adapted Screenplay. I truly, and passionately, love those movies, and feel that they should be recognized for what they have accomplished over the past 18 years. And besides, when you are talking about a screenplay, aren’t you looking for something with the most natural dialogue possible? It doesn’t get any more real than this film.
  • For best picture, I actually don’t really care. I would say The Wolf of Wall Street, if only because it is a Martin Scorcese film, and it is pretty divisive, I hear. I like it when there is a little controversy in picks. I’m sure 12 Years A Slave is a great film, but it seems like it just checks too many of the boxes, and seems like a typical Best Picture movie. Typical is boring.

That’s it. No predictions. I am not familiar enough with these films to even make educated guesses. The only one I will assume for sure, will be Frozen winning the Best Animated Feature. There. Lock it up, take it to the bank.