2013 Spotlight

Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” (2013) 


So obviously, the cinematography and effects used to recreate space are the big attraction here…

I can’t remember the last time I saw a film about space or one that recreated space so well that just the physics of space movement and gravity alone were enough to have me gripping the armrests of my seat and gritting my teeth! (who knew space DEBRIS could be scarier than Jaws & zombies combined?!) It was the closest cinematic experience to living through the horror of spinning through space with Sandra Bullock’s character and getting pushed out away from Earth with her…the real monster here is isolation.


I also saw a subtle theme of being ‘reborn’ linked together through some of the images of Sandra Bullock’s character through her attempt to survive the disaster in space:


The fetal position that Sandra rests in once she escapes the violence space debris, the umbilical-cord-like-tube-thing to her space suit, and the ending that has her swim to the surface for her first gasp of air on Earth…whether intentional or not, there does seem to be a ‘rebirth’ of Bullock’s character after she fights the temptation to give up and uses her last shreds of hope and strength to push forward for life.

I guess a lot of people were annoyed with Bullock’s character, but I though it was easier to sympathize with her and find yourself holding your breath along with her in the film. She doesn’t start out strong and confident, unlike Clooney’s character, but instead, she is fragile and distracted by her fears and what she can’t let go of…there is nothing heroic or courageous about her, until she is forced to let go of her attachments (literally, too) and learn to use gravity to be ‘reborn’ on Earth.

Only the big screen can do it justice, go see it in theaters while you can.

What I’m looking forward to (SO MANY THESE NEXT 2 MONTHS):

1. Spike Jonze’s “Her” (2013)

Joaquin Phoenix in a weird romance set in LA? Done. I don’t want to reduce it to just that, but I’m just excited to see what Jonze is trying to say with the film…and Phoenix’s acting.

2. Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (2013)

This is going to be such a sweet film with grade-A cinematography and a story that, I feel, will resonate well with audiences:

3. Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” (2013)

I’m seeing this ASAP. I don’t even know why I still haven’t seen it. Stellar cast, and a crazy story about a freedman who gets tricked and sold into slavery…it’s going to be WOAH. Michael Fassbender can be so scary LOL

4. Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” (2013)

Again, excited about the cast and it’s a Coen Brothers’ film! I read that it’s a story about grieving, which makes sense with the fuzzy light and sad, grayish colors of the film. bring it onnn…..

5. Calin Peter Netzer “Pozitia Copilului (Child’s Pose)” (2013)

Oh you betcha I’m plugging a new Romanian film by a filmmaker whose films, I admit, I have not yet seen or heard of, so he’s a fresh new face and will be featured at the AFI FEST IN HOLLYWOOD NEXT WEEK (heaven yea, i’ll be there!), so hooray Romanian filmmakers again!!! It was also co-written by Razvan Radulescu, who did “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”. I am so proud for the decade-strong, growing recognition of ‘new wave’ Romanian filmmakers…so proud.

And oh, how it fits into the themes that I’ve noticed Romanian filmmakers like to explore today- generational distance and conflicts, and the bleak, desperate self-preserving attitudes of the wealthy class.

AFI Fest next week has a bunch of screenings worth checking out, and its FREE! I’ll be there, and I’ll be back here after then.