Mamo #326: Gravatar

Gravity continues into its second weekend of box office domination and as the inevitable backlash winds up, Matt and Matt take a few trips around the planet in their space suits to talk about god, the lack of same, and how we ascribe meaning to our big screen counterparts by way of great filmmaking.

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo326.mp3

Cinecast Episode 324 – Floating Fire

Better late than never right? We stick to the Thursday recording schedule for one more week. But it’s a good week; we get to review Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity! And Dolby ATMOS. It ain’t all hugs and rainbows like on other podcasts; Andrew takes real issue with a few things and it might require a rewatch and possibly a three-watch to clear everything up. But we do offer up some unofficial, warm-up homework to kick of the 2013-14 school year (disaster movies and tears in space). The Watch List includes mumblecore, Italian horror, state of modern animation, Jim Jarmusch, found footage and Def Leppard. Settle in, it’s a pretty fun thrill ride with very little chance of debris.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


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Full show notes are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?

Kids Talk Film #22: Gravity

In space, nobody can hear you scream, but in Dolby Atmos, well, that’s a different story. I took my children to see Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity on the big screen, mainly see if that would change their opinion about a future career in the space exploration industry – they expressed trepidation at this after watching 2001: A Space Odyssey back in 2010. Afterwards, Willem (age 10) and Miranda (age 8), had plenty to say about the film; this might be their longest episode to date. Fire in zero G, Clooney’s habit of nattering away and using up precious air-jets, how long Sandra Bullock can hold her breath, and other details are up for debate.

Further episodes, including Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits, Ron Fricke’s Samsara as well the Studio Ghibli Marathon done for Twitchfilm, can be found at the Kids Talk Film Vimeo Channel.

Review: Gravity

TIFF13Gravity

The biggest complaint I’ve heard about Gravity is that it doesn’t feel like a film. In other words, it’s more like a video game or an amusement park ride than something you would normally see in your local movie theatre. You certainly can’t get away from the fact that there are gobs of CGI in it and that there are obvious reality-stretching thrill ride aspects. There are sequences specifically designed to ratchet up the tension to new levels of intensity – so much so that you might still be unclenching your toes hours later. So what’s wrong with that you ask? Well, nothing…

Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity (in its non-IMAX 3-D version at least) is a wholly immersive experience. It’s sole purpose is to put its two high-priced charming stars into impossible-to-escape scenario after impossible-to-escape scenario upping the ante each time to see if you can hold your breath a few seconds longer and grip that arm rest a little tighter. From that point of view – especially if you enjoy that kind of thing – it’s an astonishing success. That aforementioned tension steadily increases from the use of exceedingly long “takes” – a Cuaron trademark, but certainly much more stitched together than ever before here – and a raging score and sound field. It has the effect of dropping you into their desperation and panic without promise of getting out the other side.

When I say “their”, I really should qualify that to only Sandra Bullock’s character Ryan Stone. She is accompanying a space shuttle crew to perform some of her experiments, but only has about 6 months of training under her belt. George Clooney plays Matt Kowalsky, one of the astronauts who coolly jet packs around the shuttle during the opening spacewalk of the film and stays equally as cool throughout the pandemonium that follows. So Stone’s reflexes, ability to calm her breathing and ease with the jet pack are somewhat less than Kowalsky’s – which plonks us right there into her space boots (especially when the camera goes in and then back out of her space helmet). Though it took me a few minutes to settle into that opening spacewalk (getting attuned to the 3D surroundings, adjusting to what I felt were a few wonky CGI bits, etc.), I was fully engrossed by the time the first Houston warning of some potential danger came. And then, with still yet a single cut in the film, we’re thrown into crisis mode. Though that first 10-15 minute single “shot” is actually composed of hundreds of different pieces, the planning and orchestration of it is a phenomenal achievement.

Of course, that shouldn’t mean anything when it comes to your enjoyment of the experience. Did you get sucked in? Did you feel nervous? Were you there with Bullock? That’s what Cuaron is trying to do and it worked in spades for me. There are several moments that don’t work as well – Bullock’s howling with the dogs moment doesn’t work and Clooney is just too damn charming sometimes – but for me it was all easily forgiven. The ebbs and flows of tension are timed to give you just enough of a rest – but not too much – before the next wave of crisis arrives. The score is perhaps overpowering at times, but it served its purpose exceedingly well. Like a great amusement park ride you’ve just been on with your friends, I (and many other people) wanted to get right back in line and do it all over again. I just needed a few extra minutes for my muscles to relax and my toes to get back to normal.

TIFF Review: Gravity

TIFF13Gravity

The biggest complaint I’ve heard about Gravity is that it doesn’t feel like a film. In other words, it’s more like a video game or an amusement park ride than something you would normally see in your local movie theatre. You certainly can’t get away from the fact that there are gobs of CGI in it and that there are obvious reality-stretching thrill ride aspects. There are sequences specifically designed to ratchet up the tension to new levels of intensity – so much so that you might still be unclenching your toes hours later. So what’s wrong with that you ask? Well, nothing…

Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity (in its non-IMAX 3-D version at least) is a wholly immersive experience. It’s sole purpose is to put its two high-priced charming stars into impossible-to-escape scenario after impossible-to-escape scenario upping the ante each time to see if you can hold your breath a few seconds longer and grip that arm rest a little tighter. From that point of view – especially if you enjoy that kind of thing – it’s an astonishing success. That aforementioned tension steadily increases from the use of exceedingly long “takes” – a Cuaron trademark, but certainly much more stitched together than ever before here – and a raging score and sound field. It has the effect of dropping you into their desperation and panic without promise of getting out the other side.

Would you like to know more…?

Cinecast Episode 316 – Pleasantly Tickled

Critics be damned. The Lone Ranger is one of 2013’s best films. Kurt goes to bat against the nay-sayers and does a fairly good job at convincing us. Meanwhile we both agree that the vampire sub-genre has been disserviced (is that a word?) for the past many years thanks to sparkles and tween nonsense. But then along comes Neil Jordan and reminds us he’s actually pretty good at these types of films; even if it doesn’t appear so at the outset. Also, Bullock and McCarthy do the best they can with what they’re given in their female-centric, buddy-cop film. In the Watch List, Kurt shits on Christopher Nolan, gives props to Charlie Chaplin, watches illegal films and Andrew realizes Spielberg is actually still pretty great in the new millenium; even if the Brothers Grimm don’t quite acclimate as well. Oh, and not really any spoilers this week… except maybe in Andrew’s GoT Blu-ray review (sorry).

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


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Full show notes are under the seats…
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Trailer: Gravity

GRAVITY

Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film Gravity has been in the news for years at this point. Since it was first announced, names such as Robert Downey Jr., Marion Cotillard, Scarlett Johansson, and Natalie Portman have all attached to or interested in the project at one point, before the final casting of George Clooney and Sandra Bullock was set. Really though, not of that is important. It’s all secondary to what excites most people about this film: this is Cuarón’s first feature film since his awesome 2006 sci-fi film Children of Men.

The official synopsis? “Astronauts attempt to return to earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting alone in space.” The trailer teases what is sure to be one of the more impressive spectacles from the film. It does a great job of relaying the tone and intensity. This is going to be one thrilling, horrific, beautiful, lonely film – that much is for sure. In fact, it is said that Clooney and Bullock are the only two actors given screen time in the entirety of the film.

Gravity drops into theaters on October 4, 2013. Then one can hope there will be some sci-fi at the Oscars next year.

Movie Club Podcast #23: Crash and Crash

The FilmJunk crew has bowed out this week; but do not fret. Other exciting guests have entered the fray to help make the Movie Club Podcast go back to what it was originally intended to be: an always rotating panel of movie buffs and bloggers. This go-round sees the likes of RowThree favorites Ryan McNeil of The Matinee and Jim Laczkowski from The Director’s Club Podcast. Which Crash is your crash? Are you a lover of both, dismissive of both or somewhere in between. The sexual nuances of David Cronenberg’s 1996 Cannes award winner are teased out, while the subtleties of Paul Haggis’ Oscar winner are actively searched for. It’s a Thanksgiving Crashtacular, your mileage may vary!

           

The Movie Club is as much for the listeners as it is the contributors. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section over at the Movie Club Page. (Comments are turned off on this post.) The Next Episode will be recorded probably sometime in January (maybe, but do not hold us to that; regularity is not our strong suit!) and the films on discussion will be Paris, Texas and Southland Tales.

SAG Award Winners

It’s late, I’m tired, we’ve had a billion award shows so far this year. All I really care about still are the Spirit Awards and the Oscars. Still, we wouldn’t be much of a movie web site if we didn’t post the winners from the Screen Actors Guild awards would we? Especially since they basically got it right… for once. Even if it was a little bit predictable. Also Betty White is awesome.

MOVIES

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges, ‘Crazy Heart’
George Clooney, ‘Up In The Air’
Colin Firth, ‘A Single Man’
Morgan Freeman, ‘Invictus’
Jeremy Renner, ‘The Hurt Locker’

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Sandra Bullock, ‘The Blind Side’
Helen Mirren, ‘The Last Station’
Carey Mulligan, ‘An Education’
Gabourey Sidibe, ‘Precious: Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire’
Meryl Streep ‘Julie & Julia’

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Matt Damon, ‘Invictus’
Woody Harrelson, ‘The Messenger’
Christopher Plummer, ‘The Last Station’
Stanley Tucci, ‘The Lovely Bones’
Christoph Waltz, ‘Inglourious Basterds’

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Penelope Cruz, ‘Nine’
Vera Farmiga, ‘Up In The Air’
Anna Kendrick, ‘Up In The Air’
Diane Kruger, ‘Inglourious Basterds’
Mo’Nique, ‘Precious: Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire’

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
‘An Education’
‘The Hurt Locker’
‘Inglourious Basterds’
‘Nine’
‘Precious: Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire’

 

Betty White’s Lifetime Achievement Award

     

TV winners are less important, so we stuck ’em under the seats. Would you like to know more…?

15th Annual Critics Choice Awards Winners

One might presume that the more prestigious (at least in name rcognition) Golden Globes are the precursos to the Oscars to which everyone should look at before checking off boxes on their Oscar ballot. Not so fast, the group of almost 200 critics from the Broadcast Critics Association have predicted the winners of the Oscar every year for the past ten years but 2004 and 2005. If there’s any doubt now that The Hurt Locker is pretty much a lock for best picture as is Kathryn Bigelow for best director, they are fading fast. In fact, not that it’s any surprise, but this is one of the first year’s I can remember in which just about every one of the six major categories are all pretty much locks – as proved here by the Critics. The tie for lead actress is a little bit weird, but I”m sure the Academy will hash it out.

Box office success (i.e. fan favorites) were also high on the evening’s priorities, with The Hangover taking home best comedy, Up walking away with best animated film, and Avatar continuing its rule of Hollywood with a record-breaking six awards, including best action film and a slew of tech honors, including best visual effects and sound.

Check out the full list below. Is this just about en exact duplicate of what we’ll see at The Kodak Theatre on March 7th?

BEST PICTURE:
Avatar, An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Invictus
Nine
Precious
A Serious Man
Up, Up In The Air

BEST ACTOR:
Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
George Clooney – Up In The Air
Colin Firth – A Single Man
Morgan Freeman – Invictus
Viggo Mortensen – The Road
Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker

BEST ACTRESS (tie):
Emily Blunt – The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side
Carey Mulligan – An Education
Saoirse Ronan – The Lovely Bones
Gabourey Sidibe – Precious
Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Matt Damon – Invictus
Woody Harrelson – The Messenger
Christian McKay – Me And Orson Welles
Alfred Molina – An Education
Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Marion Cotillard – Nine
Vera Farmiga – Up In The Air
Anna Kendrick – Up In The Air
Mo’Nique – Precious
Julianne Moore – A Single Man
Samantha Morton – The Messenger

 
Would you like to know more…?

67th Annual Golden Globe Nominations

I know that the thumbs snubbed at the Golden Globes each year is just something I have to deal with, but honestly, there are things to really like about this award ceremony. One, it splits up the acting awards into two groups: drama and musical or comedy. The ceremony itself is rather short and to the point which I rather like and maybe most importantly to us bloggers/readers, it’s the award show that most clearly gives us an indication of what to expect from The Academy.

So with all that in mind and still expecting the vitriol in the comments below, here are the nominees for the 2009 Golden Globe Awards. Not too surprisingly, Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air takes the cake with 6 nominations and NINE comes to the table with 5 nods.

Who do you think got snubbed and who shouldbn’t be here? I might make the case that the great Meryl Streep competing against herself is at least discussion worthy, if not kind of cheap. Presentation of the awards will be telecast live on NBC at 8pm EST on Sunday, January 17th.

MOVIES

BEST MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Up in the Air

BEST MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
(500) Days of Summer
The Hangover
It’s Complicated
Julie and Julia
Nine

BEST DIRECTOR
Katherine Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

BEST DRAMATIC ACTOR
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Tobey Maguire, Brothers

BEST DRAMATIC ACTRESS
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Would you like to know more…?