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Posts Tagged ‘Gravity’
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What’s a wormhole anyway? According to Wikipedia it’s a “postulated method, within the general theory of relativity, of moving from one point in space to another without crossing the space between.” Huh? Maybe it’s easier to think of them as a cosmic shortcut to the past or future. If Bill and Ted could figure these things out—their first “excellent adventure” saw them sucked into a wormhole to assemble historical figures for a high school project—then so should we.
Christopher Nolan uses these theoretical bridges through time as the bridge through his new space opera “Interstellar.”
In the earthbound portion of the story crop blight has led to a food shortage and a worldwide ecological disaster. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), is a pilot-turned-farmer trying to find a way for his family to survive the impending apocalypse. An answer to his problems arrives in the form of Professor Brand and his daughter Amelia (Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway) who believe a new planet with the possibility of supporting life exists on the other side of a wormhole near the planet Saturn. “We’re not meant to save the world,” Brand says. “We’re meant to leave it.”. Cooper, Amelia and a team of astronauts embark on a year-year quest to find the planet and find humanity’s salvation.
“Interstellar” is twice as long as the similarly themed “Gravity,” but only half as enjoyable. It’s larger in scope—this is Christopher “Billion Dollar Baby” Nolan after all—than the Sandra Bullock movie, and more ambitious too, but it’s a strange mix of sci fi and sentimentality that plays up the idea of the power of love. The only thing missing is a Celine Dion over the final credits.
Nolan reaches for the stars with beautifully composed shots and some mind-bending special effects, but the dime store philosophy of the story never achieves lift off.
McConaughey’s been down this road before in “Contact,” and acquits himself well enough, but the interesting actor who anchored “True Detective” gets lost in space for much of the 169-minute-running time.
On the upside “Interstellar” earns points for not being based on a novel or video game. On the downside, it’s not based on good sci fi either.
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We’re celebrating everyone’s favourite award show in true Drake style. Put on your best threads + play our Oscar pool while snacking on free popcorn from the Drake kitchen. Did we mention the evening is hosted by cinema king Richard Crouse? Meet us here + challenge your friends in a match of cinematic trivia. There’s great prizes to be won + even a special bubbly menu to choose from, while cheering on your picks from the silver screen.
- Venue: Lounge
- Type: Film
- Cover: FREE
- Time: March 2, 2014, 6 p.m.
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1. 12 Years a Slave. There’s a key line near the beginning of “12 Years a Slave, “ the new drama from “Shame” director Steve McQueen. Shortly after being shanghaied from his comfortable life as a freeman into a life of slavery Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) declares, “I don’t want to survive. I want to live.” Based on Northup’s 1853 memoir the movie is an uncompromising story about will, suffering and injustice.
2. American Hustle. “American Hustle” is one of the year’s best. It’s an entertainingly audacious movie that will doubtless be compared to “The Wolf of Wall Street” because of the similarity in tone and themes, but this time around David O. Russell has almost out-Scorsese’d Scorsese.
3. Before Midnight. “Before Midnight” is beautifully real stuff that fully explores the doubts and regrets that characterize Jesse and Celine’s (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) love affair. Done with humor, heart and pathos, often in the same scene, it is a poignant farewell to two characters who grew up in front of us.
4. Blue Jasmine. Darker than most of Woody Allen’s recent output, “Blue Jasmine” doesn’t go for laughs—very often anyway—but is an astutely crafted psychological character study. Jasmine is a modern day Blanche Du Bois, a faded bright light now forced to depend on the kindness of strangers. Getting in her way are delusions of grandeur and a continued sense of denial—likely the same sense that kept her guilt free during the years the illegal cash was flowing—that eventually conspire to fracture her psyche. “There’s only so many traumas one can take,” she says, “ before you end up in the street, screaming.”
5. Captain Phillips. I don’t think it’s fair to charge audiences full price for screenings of “Captain Phillips.” While watching this exciting new Tom Hanks thriller I was reminded of the old Monster Trucks ads that bellowed, “You Pay for the Whole Seat but You’ll Only Need the Edge!”It a film about piracy and I don’t mean the sleazy guys who bootleg movies but the real pirates who were responsible for the first hijacking of an American cargo ship in two hundred years.
6. Dallas Buyer’s Club. In “Dallas Buyer’s Club” Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée has made an emotional drama that never stoops to melodrama. Instead it’s an inspirational film about standing up for what you believe in.
7. Frances Ha. The seventh film from “Greenberg” director Noah Baumbach isn’t so much a traditional narrative as it is a character study of Frances (Greta Gerwig), an underemployed dancer struggling to find herself in New York City. It plays like a cleaned up black-and-white version of “Girls”; an emotionally rich and funny portrait of twenty-something ennui. “Frances Ha” is a collection of details. There is an engaging story, but it’s not exactly laid out in three acts. It feels more intimate and raw than the usual twenty-ish crisis flick and with each detail we get another piece of the puzzle that makes up Frances’ life.
8. Fruitvale Station. It’s important to remember that “Fruitvale Station” isn’t a documentary. Director Ryan Coogler has shaped the movie for maximum heartrending effect, and by the time the devastating last half hour plays out it’s hard to imagine any other movie this year packing such a emotional wallop.
9. Gravity. “Gravity” isn’t an epic like “2001: A Space Odyssey” or an outright horror film like “Alien.” There are no monsters or face hugging ETs. It’s not even a movie about life or death. Instead it is a life-affirming movie about the will to survive.
10. Her. “Her” is an oddball story, but it’s not an oddball film. It is ripe with real human emotion and commentary on a generation’s reliance on technology at the cost of social interaction.
11. Inside Llewyn Davis. “Inside Llewyn Davis” is a fictional look at the vibrant Greenwich Village folk scene. Imagine the cover of “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” come to life. Sharp-eyed folkies will note not-so-coincidental similarities between the people Llewyn meets and real-life types like Tom Paxton, Alert Grossman and Mary Travers, but this isn’t a history, it’s a feel. It gives us an under-the-covers look at struggles and naked ambition it takes to get noticed.
12. Nebraska. The humour doesn’t come in the set-up-punch-line format but arises out of the situations. A scene of Woody’s gathered family—his elderly brothers and grown sons—watching a football game redefines the word taciturn but the subject of the sparse conversation, a 1974 Buick, is bang on, hilarious and will likely sound familiar to anyone with a large family.
13. Wolf of Wall Street. “Wolf of Wall Street” makes for entertaining viewing, mostly because DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are able to ride the line between the outrageous comedy on display and the human drama that takes over the movie’s final minutes. Both are terrific, buoyed by the throbbing pulse of Scorsese’s camera. With its fourth wall breaking narration, scandalous set pieces and absurd antics “The Wolf of Wall Street” is an experience. At three hours it’s almost as excessive as Balfort’s $26,000 dinners. It feels a bit long, but like the spoiled brats it portrays, it will not, and cannot, be ignored.
TOP FIVE MISSES
TREND: Big stars don’t guarantee box office!
1. The Fifth Estate – Budget: $28 million, Global box office: $6 million, Return: 21% Late into “The Fifth Estate” Guardian investigative journalist Nick Davies (David Thewlis) says, “most good stories start at the beginning.” I argue that he’s right– about 99% of the time. Unfortunately this look at WikiLeaks and hacker-turned-whistleblower Julian Assange falls into the 1%.
2. Bullet to the Head – Budget: $25 million, Global box office: $9 million, Return: 36% With a name like Bullet to the Head you know the new Sylvester Stallone movie isn’t a romantic comedy. Although he paraphrases the most famous rom com line of all time, “You had be at BLEEP BLEEP!” the movie is nothing but an ode to testosterone.
3. Getaway – Budget: R180-million, Global box office: R105-million, Return: 58 percent. On a scale of zero to stupid, ”Getaway” ranks an eleven. It is what we call in the film criticism business a S.D.M. (Silly Damn Movie). OK, I made that last part up, but I couldn’t really think of any other category to place this movie under. Maybe E.S.D.M. (Extremely Silly Damn Movie).
Paranoia – Budget: $35 million, Global box office: $13.5 million, Return: 39%.
R.I.P.D. – Budget: $130 million, Global box office: $78 million
Redford is a nameless sailor on a solo yacht trip on the Indian Ocean. When his thirty-foot boat collides with an abandoned shipping container he must use all his resources to survive.
That’s it. The old man and the sea… and a yacht with a hole in the side. Like “Gravity,” the other recent “adrift in the great yonder” movie, “All is Lost” is an exercise in immersive cinema. Story is secondary to the character’s journey. There is virtually no narrative, just a boiled down man-against-nature plot and a growing sense of desperation as the sailor’s supplies dwindle.
The drama comes from the surroundings, the harsh world recreated by director J.C. Chandor (whose last film “Margin Call” was an overlooked gem). It’s claustrophobic, made doubly intense by watery sound effects and a building feeling of helplessness portrayed on Redford’s face.
The actor is in every frame of the film and although he only speaks a dozen or so lines—many of which are the monosyllabic utterances of distress you’d expect—he manages to create a compelling persona despite the lack of backstory, context or any of the traditional hangers characters get hung on. He is the essence of the film, a man hell bent on survival against increasingly difficult odds.
“All is Lost” is probably more audacious than it is entertaining, but it showcases Chandor’s nimble footed technique and Redford’s effortless star power. Alone and figuratively naked, he holds the screen for the entire 106 minutes, eloquently commenting on the human condition with no words, just action.