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Gravity

Postby Filligan on Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:28 pm

Flawless on the outside, empty on the inside. Damn what a shame. I loved it like I would an incredible theme park ride, but that's all it ever achieves. Still, from a visual standpoint, I have no problem with the acclaim it has or will receive.

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Re: Gravity

Postby djross on Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:29 pm


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Re: Gravity

Postby Stewball on Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:06 am

djross wrote:My view corresponds closely to Richard Brody's:
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/movies/2013/10/alfonso-cuarons-generic-gravity.html


I was agreeing too until it got to this part:

"It’s notable that the movie is called “Gravity,” which, of course, is what’s lacking in outer space. The effort to return to Earth entails the effort to reënter its gravitational field. It’s worth recalling that the grand climax of “2001” is also the entry into a gravitational field (Jupiter’s) and that its colossal force gives rise to one of the most hallucinatory visions in the modern cinema."

That's what happens when you let a "New Yorker" film critic talk about science. We're in the gravitational field of speck of dust on the far side of the universe, and, if we're going fast enough, we can be "weightless" in orbit 20' above a black hole. So gravity isn't what's lacking in outer space, it and momentum are what we have to conquer ever more adroitly as we expand our realm into it. And 2001 wasn't about entering Jupiter's gravitational field, it was about entering the monolithic stargate. Jeeeez.

If he'd wanted a critique of the movie's scientific miscues, he should have checked out my post in the other thread for Gravity here at Criticker. Hooo Ahhhh 8-)

And as for no "strange personal impulses", Sandrah Bullock's character was certainly no model for calm and composure.

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Re: Gravity

Postby ShogunRua on Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:17 pm

It's funny how regardless of the score, the reviews of Gravity are all the same. Gorgeous visual presentation and tremendous excitement to go along with nothing characters and a ho-hum, predictable story.

It's also amusing that those same reviews are almost identical to those of Pacific Rim.

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Re: Gravity

Postby Suture Self on Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:29 am

Film is a visual medium and despite how bad the dialogue and plot may or may not be, the craft of Gravity is exceptional. To an extent, I don't care how stupid the backstory is or how laughable it is that Sandra Bullock's child died by literally tripping and falling on a rock. When things are being torn apart in space while Sandra Bullock hangs on for dear life, completely at the whims of physics and her environment, the movie is a visual marvel unlike anything else we've seen yet, and since this is a large portion of the movie - the meat of the movie - I'm more than fine with praising it as a complete work. I understand those who would have liked a more substantial human drama. Hell, I think the substance is there in the images. I think the physical performance by Bullock was great. Her facial expressions and body language were effectively fearful and sad. It's a damn shame Cuaron didn't take a more meditative approach with the dialogue. Even Wall-E understood this. Instead, to appease large crowds, the score was jacked to 11 and the dialogue was painfully similar to something you'd read from a Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul book. If you can't look past this, fine, but I am annoyed when people think style isn't substance, because Gravity, much like Jurassic Park, is a great example of style as substance. Emmanuel Lubezki's photography is inspiring.

And, if we're going to be honest, I was on board with Bullock's survival. I was rooting for her despite how insufferable Clooney was and how horrible her monologues for religious yearning and "life being one hell of a ride" were. The last scene at the end was unexpectedly cathartic and subtle, too, though it unsurprisingly had almost zero dialogue.

If you're looking for better characterization, a film that tells a similar story would be Werner Herzog's "Wings of Hope".

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Re: Gravity

Postby Stewball on Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:13 am

FarCryss wrote: but I am annoyed when people think style isn't substance


Style as substance is one thing, but style without substance is another--that is, where style is an emotive connection to a presentation alone without any way to identify with it. I'm not dismissing it, only saying that such an untethered, connectionless existence is like drifting through empty space...alone.

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Re: Gravity

Postby ShogunRua on Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:56 pm

FarCryss wrote:Film is a visual medium and despite how bad the dialogue and plot may or may not be, the craft of Gravity is exceptional. To an extent, I don't care how stupid the backstory is or how laughable it is that Sandra Bullock's child died by literally tripping and falling on a rock. When things are being torn apart in space while Sandra Bullock hangs on for dear life, completely at the whims of physics and her environment, the movie is a visual marvel unlike anything else we've seen yet, and since this is a large portion of the movie - the meat of the movie - I'm more than fine with praising it as a complete work. I understand those who would have liked a more substantial human drama. Hell, I think the substance is there in the images. I think the physical performance by Bullock was great. Her facial expressions and body language were effectively fearful and sad. It's a damn shame Cuaron didn't take a more meditative approach with the dialogue. Even Wall-E understood this. Instead, to appease large crowds, the score was jacked to 11 and the dialogue was painfully similar to something you'd read from a Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul book. If you can't look past this, fine, but I am annoyed when people think style isn't substance, because Gravity, much like Jurassic Park, is a great example of style as substance. Emmanuel Lubezki's photography is inspiring.


Style and substance are completely separate entities, but I partially agree; most films I have enjoyed possess excellent style with little substance. There's nothing wrong with that.

What's unfortunate, however, is when practically every good modern Hollywood picture follows that mold; great style with no substance. I would like some variety.

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Re: Gravity

Postby djross on Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:28 pm

FarCryss wrote:Film is a visual medium.


I have never understood this commonly-espoused notion: in addition to sound and image, the dramatic elements (dialogue, acting, narrative, etc.) seem more than a little significant. Filmmakers who excel at the construction of imagery but neglect these other aspects often end up with mediocre movies. In my view Gravity was obviously visually impressive but poor in all other respects.

If Bergman, on the other hand, is often considered one of the all-time great film directors (in my view this is, if anything, to understate the case), does it not seem likely that his extensive theatrical work, both before and during his filmmaking career, has something to do with it (not that he neglects the "visual" aspects of film: quite the contrary)? One problem with filmmaking in the twenty-first century is that filmmakers have deficient understanding and ability in the non-visual aspects of cinema: this is not just a criticism of generic Hollywood filmmaking – so-called arthouse cinema, too, often seems to display great visual talent but little dramatic skill (audiences and critics too often mistaking the latter for artistic profundity).

To distil some "essence" of cinema down to being a "visual medium" seems rather reductive.

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Re: Gravity

Postby Suture Self on Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:10 pm

djross wrote:
FarCryss wrote:Film is a visual medium.


I have never understood this commonly-espoused notion: in addition to sound and image, the dramatic elements (dialogue, acting, narrative, etc.) seem more than a little significant. Filmmakers who excel at the construction of imagery but neglect these other aspects often end up with mediocre movies. In my view Gravity was obviously visually impressive but poor in all other respects.

If Bergman, on the other hand, is often considered one of the all-time great film directors (in my view this is, if anything, to understate the case), does it not seem likely that his extensive theatrical work, both before and during his filmmaking career, has something to do with it (not that he neglects the "visual" aspects of film: quite the contrary)? One problem with filmmaking in the twenty-first century is that filmmakers have deficient understanding and ability in the non-visual aspects of cinema: this is not just a criticism of generic Hollywood filmmaking – so-called arthouse cinema, too, often seems to display great visual talent but little dramatic skill (audiences and critics too often mistaking the latter for artistic profundity).

To distil some "essence" of cinema down to being a "visual medium" seems rather reductive.

Well, what I mean is, the visual aspects of film are intertwined with the dramatic elements you mention and in many ways I consider them inseparable. Gravity is a very intimate and immediate movie, shot with intimacy and immediacy, and the camera work reflects those elements much stronger than the dialogue does, unfortunately. That doesn't mean those elements aren't substantial because the dialogue sucks. When I look at Lubezki's camera movements and photography, other than their pleasing-to-the-eye nature, it appears he's saying something with how he handles the camera; in much of his work, the images are flowing, uninterrupted, mimicking a biological eye's sustained viewing and cadence, rather than trying to frame a still shot like a photographer (or Ozu) would. I wish more films were shot with this kind of meaningful presentation. I eat it up.

This film, from what I've read, is also much closer to animation than real-time photography, and I highly enjoy animated films - even if the "dramatic elements" are lacking. The artistry of the picture alone deserves praise, in many circumstances.

Now, you could call me shallow, which is fine, I am in some instances, but when an artist handles the visual medium with such dexterity and craft, I'm almost always going to give them the benefit of the doubt. I'm shallow and an optimist, too.

PS: I think the film's only real flaw (and it's a massive one) is the dialouge. I have no problems with the acting or the narrative arc.

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Re: Gravity

Postby Stewball on Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:33 pm

djross wrote:
FarCryss wrote:Film is a visual medium.


I have never understood this commonly-espoused notion: in addition to sound and image, the dramatic elements (dialogue, acting, narrative, etc.) seem more than a little significant. Filmmakers who excel at the construction of imagery but neglect these other aspects often end up with mediocre movies. In my view Gravity was obviously visually impressive but poor in all other respects.

If Bergman, on the other hand, is often considered one of the all-time great film directors (in my view this is, if anything, to understate the case), does it not seem likely that his extensive theatrical work, both before and during his filmmaking career, has something to do with it (not that he neglects the "visual" aspects of film: quite the contrary)? One problem with filmmaking in the twenty-first century is that filmmakers have deficient understanding and ability in the non-visual aspects of cinema: this is not just a criticism of generic Hollywood filmmaking – so-called arthouse cinema, too, often seems to display great visual talent but little dramatic skill (audiences and critics too often mistaking the latter for artistic profundity).

To distil some "essence" of cinema down to being a "visual medium" seems rather reductive.


I certainly agree that there's much more to cinema than visuals (to which sound & music should be considered separately as well). I've said it often enough that movies are the best art form because they use all of the art forms. Or as Orson Welles said, “A writer needs a pen, an artist needs a brush, but a filmmaker needs an army.” There are some of the best overall filmmakers ever working today in both Hollywood and in Indys. We tend to forget all the crap in the past, but bore in on it today.

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