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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 12.5%
Average: 3.57%
Pretty Bad: 5.36%
Total Crap: 21.43%

5 reviews, 26 user ratings

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by Jack Sommersby

"In Space No One Can Hear You Snore"
1 stars

Major stars and a lot of special effects, all to no avail. Would've worked better as a thirty-minute IMAX presentation.

If the appalling Gravity is the future of movies, I think I'll take up needlepoint as an alternate form of entertainment instead. As a technical exercise it's to be commended, I guess, for some fluid camera movements and deep-toned photography that definitely make an impression on the big screen; as an organic motion picture, though, it's as empty and enervating as a third-rate video game that you tire of playing after fifteen minutes. What we have here is a U.S. space shuttle with two astronauts inside and three outside severely damaged by fast-moving debris from an inoperable satellite destroyed by a Russian missile strike. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play two of the three outside astronauts, with only a voice lent to the third one who is fatally struck; they have to make their way back to the shuttle after being blown quite a distance away, and then after discovering the shuttle all but obliterated and the rest of the crew dead, they try to make it to the International Space Station before another before another round of debris returns in ninety minutes. The main emphasis is on Bullock's medical engineer, whose first foray into space this is, and her arduous struggles to stay alive amid one predicament after another. (Clooney's veteran astronaut, whose last space expedition this is, might as well be the cliched movie-cop whose last week on the job this is, thus ensuring his eventual demise.) For the sake of "depth," the engineer's revealed to still be suffering from the death of her young daughter; and in an attempt to be "unorthodox," a five-minute bit that may or may not be a hallucination is included; both of which prove that even in space an inanity is still an inanity. Perhaps I'd have been a wee bit more persuaded if a more convincing actress other than Bullock were serving as my eyes and ears. With the majority of her screen time spent in a space suit, Bullock has to rely on an internal force she just doesn't have, and is as dramatically inert as she was in Murder by Numbers and Crash; she's got that Julia Roberts blandness about her in serious roles where you keep waiting for the actress who's actually up to the job to show up any minute (though I still stand by her undervalued work in Demolition Man and Miss Congeniality). It's not that Bullock doesn't give her all, it's that her all simply isn't good enough.

Gravity is a dream project for the Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, who also co-wrote, co-produced and co-edited this expensively produced superproduction, and with about eighty percent of the running time reliant on CGI special effects, you can certainly see where all the money went. But it's not enjoyable, and it never comes close to engaging your imagination and challenging your senses the way good science fiction should. Also, it's got that too-clean look I associate with Pixar productions: the moviemakers have spent a hundred-million dollars and haven't produced a single memorable image. (I immensely disliked Ridley Scott's Prometheus, but at least it was cinematographically ingenious.) Watching Gravity is to be constantly reminded of better moments from Better Movies Past, like the landing of a ship on an environmentally hostile planet in Scott's Alien, John Lithgow's throat-clinching sense of vertigo during his first spacewalk in Peter Hyams's 2010: The Year We Make Contract, the deeply affecting self-sacrifice of Tim Robbins's doomed astronaut in Brian De Palma's Mission to Mars, the unnerving eeriness of the discovery of a haunted-house-like ship in Gary Nelson's The Black Hole, the pounding meteor shower in Wolfgang Petersen's Enemy Mine. Cuaron tried an earthbound sci-fi tale in the absurdly lauded Children of Men, and he hasn't the necessary instinct for proper proportion and shaping individual scenes; Gravity was shot in 3-D widescreen, and yet even outside the confines of the shuttle the visuals aren't particularly expressive -- by the thirty-minute mark I was exhausted not because I was overpowered but because the extended one-shot takes are so boringly composed and overextended. Put Gravity up against J.C. Chandor's phenomenal All is Lost, which involved Robert Redford's everyman stranded on the high sea alone on a damaged yacht, and you can see the difference between inventiveness and inertia. Bereft of fancy f/x and chock-full of inventive directing, it, too, is a survival movie, but it's far better made and takes a lot more chances: we stay on that boat the entire time; Chandor makes intelligent use of the camera; and Redford, with only a minimum of dialogue, is nothing short of magnificent. (You find yourself involuntarily leaning toward the screen in anticipation throughout, something I haven't done in years.) The squarely conceived, vapidly executed Gravity, on the other hand, succeeds only as a surefire remedy for insomnia.

See the Redford movie.

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originally posted: 03/20/14 02:09:29
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Venice Film Festival For more in the 2013 Venice Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Zurich Film Festival For more in the 2013 Zurich Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Telluride Film Festival For more in the 2013 Telluride Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell good visuals tight pace its overcoming tragedy for those who dont get it 4 stars
12/09/15 Mike Oxlong Absolute poo 1 stars
4/27/15 the rock overrated as hell 1 stars
4/26/15 Terror Most overrated film ever 1 stars
9/14/14 Zobox Good not great 4 stars
5/16/14 SID RUMKOWSKI Space junk. Clooney plays the Hostess twinkie in this. 1 stars
4/12/14 Smitty great effects - total lack of scientific reality 2 stars
4/11/14 EDWARD BENITEZ very good film but Bullock did not deserve a Best Actress nomination 5 stars
4/07/14 reptilesni Pretty damn good. I wish I had seen this in IMAX. 4 stars
3/08/14 fernxi Turned off after 10 min. Hollywood (en) acting =/> hype, 2 stars
12/10/13 Langano Great visual effects, the rest doesn't measure up. Good, not great. 3 stars
11/23/13 Female Scientist Puke-not spin induced-VILE religious subplot, whimpering female lead-come back Ripley! 1 stars
11/16/13 Sarah Quinn This movie is very overrated but a very good movie and I've them props for all the praise. 4 stars
11/12/13 alice Only worht a look for the 3D. Did not like the acting and lyrics (irritating at times) 4 stars
11/08/13 Joebeducci I liked your review. Could I get some feedback on mine 4 stars
11/05/13 radium56 Flawless. 5 stars
10/30/13 puddleduck I wish I had save my money and watch the Discovery channel. Overblow drivel. 1 stars
10/17/13 Bob Dog Good movie! 3 stars
10/16/13 Man Out Six Bucks Finally something fresh. Definitely one for the big screen 5 stars
10/13/13 mr.mike I don't often give this rating. 5 stars
10/12/13 annabelle Grove occurrance at owl creek bridge? 4 stars
10/09/13 Charles Tatum Very intense, never lets up 5 stars
10/07/13 KingNeutron I wanted to SCREAM at Bullock's character the whole time! 2much gasping!! 2 stars
10/06/13 Drew WOW! Amazing 5 stars
10/05/13 davofern Simply brilliant 5 stars
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  04-Oct-2013 (PG-13)
  DVD: 25-Feb-2014


  DVD: 25-Feb-2014

Directed by
  Alfonso Cuarón

Written by
  Alfonso Cuarón
  Jonas Cuaron
  Rodrigo Garcia

  George Clooney
  Sandra Bullock

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