Gravity Movie Review

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.
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Looking for an intense and brilliant movie? Look no further than Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

Introduced during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Gravity is a story of survival in one of the most perilous situations possible — lost in space. As you might imagine, Gravity is a very intense movie and Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity’s director, does a phenomenal job recreating the atmosphere of space in the theatre (pun intended!).

One of Alfonso’s tactics for creating tension and a feeling of isolation was stripping the movie of music. It was surprisingly quiet throughout — so much so, that I could hear every word spoken by the child that wouldn’t keep quiet in the row in front of me. Inconsiderate parents! But I digress.

Super condensed review, go!

  • The visuals were the best part of the movie, with animation so realistic you quickly find yourself drifting out in space. For full effect, see Gravity in 3D AVX.
  •  The acting was superb. I would expect nothing less from Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, elite veteran actors. What was interesting was that, other than a few disembodied voices, they were the only actors in the movie. It’s not everyday that the leading actors are the only actors.
  • The music was primarily a heartbeat throughout the film that added a lot of underlying anxiety. If you were to record the heartbeat of someone watching Gravity, the resulting graph would be very jagged.
  • The plot was very basic, which is why Alfonso made the right choice in restricting the movie’s length to 1.5 hours. Any longer and it would have felt drawn-out. My only complaint is with the overdone religious elements included which seem out of place for what is otherwise a sci-fi / science movie.

Overall, this is a movie you definitely want to see, and it is certainly worth seeing on the biggest screen possible. As I mentioned earlier in the post, be sure to catch the movie in AVX 3D and make sure you aren’t sitting next to any children.

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Looper Movie Review

Looper Movie Review with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.
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Looper is as close to perfection as a movie can get. This will certainly be one of the most one-sided movie reviews I have ever written. Spoilers are included in a separate section at the bottom with fair warning.

Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, is an extremely well-rounded sci-fi/action/drama movie that takes place in the future. What impressed me the most about Looper, was how director/writer Rian Johnson was able to incorporate time travel in a way that is easy-to-follow. I have seen many movies fail at this in the past; either trying to explain how it works and failing miserably, or ignoring how it works completely leaving enormous plot holes. Instead, the movie is “self-aware” with the actors acknowledging that time travel is complex, spending some time explaining the basics of the premise and then moving on.

Amazingly, Looper manages to avoid almost every sci-fi cliché in the book, adding to its self-awareness. One thing that I would consider a common cliché is assuming too much of the future. If there is one thing we look back and laugh at, it is old sci-fi movies that assumed that we would be all living in hover cities with flying cars, or things of that nature. Looper portrays a much more realistic future with a number of advancements but nothing completely out to lunch. Of course, sci-fi purists may actually think this is a problem, perhaps to them the more far-fetched the future the better, however I most certainly prefer writers that don’t take every liberty available to them.

The plot was highly unique and thoroughly enthralling, however it was the acting and the character development that was the biggest draw. Instead of the movie revolving entirely around a single character or two, Looper introduces a number of characters that are followed throughout the movie. Flawless acting helps sell these well-developed characters and bring the movie together like few others. Emily Blunt’s performance stood out in particular, despite a smaller role than Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Bruce Willis was probably the weakest acting piece but his style served a pivotal role for his character. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, on the other hand, shattered my expectations of him. It is now clear to me that he will be a strong A-list actor that we can expect to see much more often.

In summary, the movie was flawless. See this movie.

It there anything after the credits? No, there are no extra scenes at the end of Looper.

** Warning: Spoilers below**

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There is one thing that is throwing me for a loop (hahaha, I’m soooo funny): the movie very delicately touched on how time travel works and explained everything well, except for at the very end. How is it possible that Joe is trying to kill Cid because someone turned him bad in the future and yet it was Joe himself that killed said. Hard to explain, but I’ll try again:

How would Joe not know that he was the one that killed Cid’s mother causing him to turn into the future killer that he is?

I welcome any theories in the comments below.

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Moon Movie Review | Sam Rockwell & Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey stars in Moon | Movie Review Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems.
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I must tread carefully here because the entire Premise of Moon is essentially a spoiler. So instead I will focus on what makes the movie so great and avoid discussing the plot.

“So what exactly is this movie about and why have I never heard of it?”

The movie is about a man that is serving a 3 year contract on the moon collecting energy to send back to earth. Sam experiences the loneliness of space and the psychological toll it can place on a person. Of course, that is only half of the premise but I cannot speak to the rest of the plot. Just watch it, OK?

The movie is clearly not a Hollywood blockbuster (made most obvious by the imaginary marketing budget the movie had) but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. The movie is shot beautifully and has reasonable computer graphics where they are used. The plot is unique and the acting and dialogue make it one of the best movies that I had never heard of.

Sam Rockwell plays Sam Bell and provides one of this best performances. However, it is Kevin Spacey, playing the voice of GERTY, Sam’s lunar helper, that originally captured my attention. Kevin Spacey has a small role compared to Sam but was cast perfectly for the role of a monotone and creepy robot. Sam is essentially the only character in the entire movie, putting the entire movie at the mercy of his individual performance. Needless to say, he is a great actor with depth.

That is all I have to say about the movie at this point. There are many interesting discussions to be had about the plot so when you’re done watching it let’s discuss it. I’ll be here. Waiting.

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The Hunger Games Movie Review

the-hunger-games-movie-review Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.star-whitestar-whitestar-whitestar-white

The Hunger Games wins on so many levels that it will be hard to touch on everything in this movie review.

The Hunger Games is based on the super-popular book series of the same name written by Suzanne Collins and both the movie and books bring something to the table for a variety of audiences. Although the primary target appears to be teens, the movie has universal appeal – for both young and old as well as male and female (unlike some movies *cough* Twilight *cough*). The movies has a good balance of both male and female roles as well as a balance of character types, including a  race-balance (some racists disagree about the casting of some characters). To reiterate, this creates a diverse experience that will be enjoyed by many.

The movie is based in a society in which the government fully oppresses the lower classes and forces impoverished citizens to engage in vicious fights to the death in order to maintain peace. The theme of the movie is extremely relevant given today’s current power struggles (the 99% vs. 1% and the 99% vs. the government) much like In Time. The movie even goes as far as to depict protests as a result of the hunger games that can be mistaken for having turned on CNN.

The Hunger Games was clearly written to illustrate the many problems plaguing modern-day society. Apart from the most obvious message –“watch out for an increasingly powerful government” –the story also spends considerable time illustrating the struggles of the lower class for the audience. It becomes apparent that the upper class is unaware of, or wilfully blind to, the struggles of the oppressed. All they care about is the “reality show”. The reality show idea was taken to the max as the producers of the show were willing to do anything for the ratings – not at all different than in real life (although with less extreme consequences, hopefully). The number of truly relevant modern-day themes written into The Hunger Games is truly incredible.

The movie itself was well-filmed with some interesting camera shots. The editing kept the movie alive even during some of the slower parts (of which there were not many). The music was well-suited throughout and the theme song during the credits was particularly great. Most surprising of all were some of the actors cast. It was a pleasant surprise to see Woody Harrelson; always a welcome addition. There were other surprises that I will leave out in order to avoid spoiling the movie.

Overall, the movie was highly engaging, very timely, well put-together and appealing for a variety of audiences. I cannot wait for the follow-ups.

What did you think?

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Contagion Movie Review 2011

contagion-movie-review-matt-damon A thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak.

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Contagion is a very unique movie for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is shot with elements of both a documentary and a typical Hollywood drama. Unfortunately the style does not lend to a particularly compelling presentation. I was left feeling that the movie was neither personal enough nor informative enough. There appeared to be a lack of focus regarding what exactly the movie was supposed to be.

This is not to say the movie was not interesting, because it was. The movie was successful in taking the audience through what it would be like to be involved in the middle of a massive disease outbreak. It was certainly interesting to see what society would have gone through with outbreaks in the past, before we had become effective at curbing these disasters.

Matt Damon’s character was hard to read and his performance was not up to his usual standard. The movie also failed to develop a connection between other main characters and the audience which took away from the personal elements as the movie progressed.

Overall the movie missed the mark, but the concept was unique and intriguing and still worth a watch, if only as a rental.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

rise-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-movie-review An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

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Despite being a movie fanatic, I often find myself being very cynical with certain movie ideas. Although I had not seen any of the original Planet of the Apes franchise, the concept always seemed very cheesy to me. It seemed like a concept that they would not be able to get by with today. As such, I did not have high expectations for the movie but I must say, I was blown out of the water. The realistic modern take on the concept made the story believable and engaging in ways that the original franchise likely did not.

To put it into perspective, you may remember a time when comics, cartoons and movies were almost entirely held in fantasy. There were many loopholes in logic but it was “okay” because it was pure fantasy. In cinema today there is a much greater emphasis on realism – even when the movie is based in fantasy. Personally, I love it.

I think the best examples of this are the original Batman movies (everything before Batman: Begins & The Dark Knight). Most people would agree that those original movies were quite cheesy and lacked the serious and realistic focus of the new iterations by Christopher Nolan. In his take on the Batman franchise, characters are well-developed and their back-stories explained well. Nolan focused less on the superhero aspect of the movie and more on the story itself and it pays off big time. It is always effective to increase believability for an audience – we can believe in a Bruce Wayne, someone who has access to a lot of resources – it’s a lot harder to believe in Superman. But that’s enough about Batman.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes combines these somewhat indescribable characteristics that make it a very compelling movie. They pulled off a “smart animal movie” in a way I did not think possible. You will feel sorrow, anger and happiness – for an ape. So watch the movie and enjoy.

P.s. stick around at the end of the movie – there is a surprise ending that is sure to please.