Showing posts with label george clooney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label george clooney. Show all posts

2 March 2014

Blu-ray Review - Gravity (2013)

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Genre:
Sci-fi, Drama
Distributor:
Warner Bros Pictures
BD Release Date:
3rd March 2014 (UK)
Rating: 12
Director:
Alfonso Cuarón
Cast:
Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Buy Gravity: DVD[ + UV Copy] or Blu-ray [+ UV Copy]


What is there to be said about Gravity that hasn’t been said before? It’s one of the few films to live up to the hype, and it’s really the film that single handily saved the film industry’s enforcement of 3D to make more loot. Having seen the film in both 3D and the traditional 2D, it has to be said that the 2D version lacks the visceral experience of the 3D version; however it’s such a perfectly constructed film that it’s still an awe-inspiring watch on the second viewing.

The film starts with an unbroken single shot of Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Lieutenant Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) working on the Hubble telescope. It’s one of, if not the best, shots of 2013 and it’s technically so mind-blowing you will literally watch it in awe. The film’s plot is as simply as you can possibly get - high-speed space junk hits the Hubble telescopes and the spaceship they took up there. It’s completely destroyed, and the two astronauts become stuck floating in space. They need to get to the International Space Station but everything that could wrong does. All they have is Kowalski’s thruster pack to get them to their destination.

It’s full of very long takes and due to the subject matter, some of the scenes are partly fake and filled with special effects, however it remains a total game changer. In its entirety the film has about 150 shots, which is very rare for a $100,000,000 film; the average amount is around 5000 for a normal Hollywood film. The special effects are also the most believable since Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and it’s similarly best seen on the biggest screen possible.

Sandra Bullock has never been better and hopefully, like Matthew McConaughey, it will be the catalyst for a new chapter in her career by choosing more interesting and diverse roles than she had previously. Clooney is charming as ever, but the film rests on Bullock’s performance: for a good majority of the film, it is just her isolated in space and dealing with every obstacle herself. It’s also worth noting Ed Harris’ voice cameo as mission control - an obvious homage to Ron Howard’s best film Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff in which Ed Harris played a similar role.

Now onto the director Alfonso Cuarón; he has managed to redeem himself after the controversial and atrocious Autism Speaks video he did in 2009. Autism Speaks is a fake pro-autism organization, which has sadly infiltrated parts of Hollywood. They are, in reality, a group that considers Autism a disease when it’s a social disorder. They are trying to find a cure for something that is incurable but part of the person’s identity.

Cuarón last directorial effort was Children of Men back in 2006 which one of the best films of the last 20 years, and like Gravity, it is filled with long takes. It’s more of a sci-fi film because of its dystopian story. Cuarón has said Gravity isn’t science fiction but a “drama about a women in space”.

Gravity was very much the film of 2013 due to its technical achievement and fantastic minimalistic story, along with the two 2 outstanding performances from Clooney and Bullock. There could be a pretentious comparison to the work of Robert Bresson because of his minimalistic approach to filmmaking, but it’s very slight. The blu-ray includes a very insightful documentary on the making of the film, in which much of the technical side is explained – and for this, it is essential viewing for any budding filmmakers.

★★★★★

Ian Schultz


8 October 2012

Radioman Review

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Radioman is a legendary figure in the New York City film world. He is a former alcoholic homeless bum who started his film career in 1990 on Brian De Palmas’ Bonfire of the Vanities. He simply walked onto to set and handed Bruce Willis a beer because he though he was a bum as well. His life story has been told in the recent documentary directed by Mary Herr also called Radioman.

It’s features interview snippets of such stars as George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Josh Brolin, Tom Hanks, Johnny Deep and the list goes on and on. They all say how much they like seeing Radioman on set and how they it’s the same if it’s a New York film and he isn’t on set. Robin Williams one of the first celebrities who he met on a film set (the film is question was Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King) jokes his resume is larger than his, Radioman’s IMDb page doesn’t list a 10th of the films he has appeared in.

It’s an interesting look at somebody who clearly has some mental health issues but has such a deep love for films. It shows his daily routine, which is getting on his bike and cycling to the daily film set and sometimes he evens go to other states besides New York.  It’s show shis mess of a apartment. It also mentions his desire to get more prominent roles, which he been getting. He has a noticeable role on Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island for example.

It doesn’t really just judgement on Radioman. However it’s at times very difficult to watch because some of his behaviour and the footage is so revealing it gets very difficult at times to watch. Overall it’s a good little doc about the other side of the film industry.


Ian Schultz

★★★1/2

Rating:12
UK Release Date: 12th October 2012
Directed by:  Mary Kerr
Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep