Friday, January 24, 2014

Gravity (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

You’ll Fall
For “Gravity”

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

What goes up must come down. That’s what Sir Isaac Newton taught us. Y’know like an apple falling.

And if you’re up on a space station the fall is just a little farther.

Gravity is a natural phenomenon in which physical objects attract each other. This is one of the four fundamental forces of the universe, along with electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear. It affects every solid body, even astronauts

In “Gravity” -- the new dci-fi thriller playing at Tropic Cinema -- Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are astronauts trapped in a damaged space shuttle.

This is a survival movie designed to keep you on the edge of your seat. The question is, how do you stay alive when you’re stranded in space, 230 miles above the Earth.

Here we have Dr. Ryan Stone (Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer on her first space mission. Among the crew on the shuttle is Matt Kowalski (cool-as-a-cucumber George Clooney).

What do you do when space debris crashes into the “Explorer,” sending you tumbling through the vacuum of space, away from your ship, with a limited air supply and no communications with Mission Control? What if your crew is now dead, leaving you and the ship’s commander alone up there? Can you make it to the International Space Station? Can you make it from there to the abandoned Chinese space station? Is there an escape capsule there? Can you get back to earth? Or should you just shut off your oxygen supply and gracefully go into that good night?

This may be Sandra Bullock’s meatiest role ever, one that proves her acting chops, golden statuette or not. And George Clooney offers a great support performance, as calm and reassuring as a hallucinated angel.

“Gravity” was co-written, co-produced, co-edited and directed by Alfonso Cuarón (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “Children of Men”) with a little help from his son Jonás. The 3-D was designed by Chris Parks. This is definitely a film you will want to see in 3-D.

In the trailer you’ll hear the explosions as the space debris hits the space stations, but those scenes are silent in the movie because as Cuarón reminds us, “There is no sound in space. In the film, we don’t do that.” (Don’t you remember the tagline from that first “Alien” movie: “In space no one can hear you scream”?)

But that’s not true for audiences.

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