Archives for posts with tag: Gravity

gravity

There might not be anything  bleaker than the idea of death in outer space. Alfonso Cuarón decided to make a film that hinges on the fear of exactly that, and about the human ability to struggle for survival in that most inhospitable of realms. Based on premise alone, Gravity is terrifying. But let’s say just a bit more.

Cuarón has set a high standard for himself, having already made such excellent films as Y Tu Mamá También and Children of Men, and in many ways, Gravity lives up to that standard. The visuals are beyond belief. There is simply a level of imagery that has never been achieved in cinema before. Likewise, I found that this was the first time that it felt like the 3-D format made sense (and added to the film experience). The mix of photography and CGI is just amazing. The soundtrack was also excellent, even if we might not call it cutting edge–prominent use of Shepard tones is perfect for the tension in the film, if not original. And the acting is fairly solid. Both George Clooney and Sandra Bullock do something of their standard performances, but they fit well in this script.

The only real downer about this movie comes in the sentimental parts, where the emotions are fairly crude, the themes are overbearing and obvious, and in general it feels like Cuarón didn’t trust his audience to understand more nuanced fare. Emotionally, this has nothing of the finesse you have in his earlier work.

But if you can get past the sledgehammer thematics, the action and the visuals are worth it. Space, beauty, stress, action, weightlessness, and then so much weight… Now I only hope Cuarón keeps it coming, and that he has a long and fruitful career.

Advertisements

9-s-lo-con-tu-pareja-love-in-the-time-of-hysteria-mexico

Before Alfonso Cuarón got all grave on us (tee hee), he was making romantic comedies and they were rather good!

Here, in his first feature film, we have the story of an unlikely lothario, Tomás Tomás, who is careless in his affairs to the point of disregarding his personal safety as well as that of the women he seduces. This leads him into a series of very difficult situations, and as his life gets more complicated, he begins to realize that his lifestyle doesn’t serve him once he falls in love with his beautiful neighbor, Clarissa. Add in a whole bunch of other stuff and you’ve got it!

I imagine this film being made by a French team and starring Romain Duris and not being quite as good. The zany 90s feel of it (I seem to be catching quite a few 90s flicks in the recent months) is fun, and there are so many fine touches, such as jokes repeating like leitmotifs, that it’s endearing even as it ends up slightly predictable. I am regret having just enough Spanish to know that significant wordplay is going on, but without understanding what it might be. Sólo Con Tu Pareja may have the second best dream sequence of all time, though, after Dumbo. Ah wait. That’s a drunk scene, not a dream sequence.

[Cue Inexplicable Mexican Wrestler]

Let’s get serious, though: Cuarón is amazing. Even as this film feels like juvenilia, it’s very good quality for a 90s romantic comedy. If it had been the first of his films that I’d seen, I probably never would have guessed that he’d go on to make Children of Men, for example, and Sólo Con Tu Pareja does not come close to his other work, but I’m still happy to have seen it. I haven’t even had a chance to see Gravity yet and I love this director like Tomás loves Clarisa. I really hope he has a long and fruitful career. (His non-directorial production credits are also awesome…)

I just quickly read A.O. Scott’s NYTimes review of the film and I think he largely agrees with me. Good job, Anthony! Which reminds me, this film features one of the five most tasteless jokes I’ve ever seen in a film. Intriguing? I guess you’ll have to watch it, then, because I’m not going to tell you what it is! (Tee hee!)

Now I need to learn some Spanish. I want to know the exact language when Tomás asks Clarisa, “You feel an abyss between us?” And she answers, “Yes. A very small one.”

Alright, I’m off to look up every Claudia Ramírez film ever made.