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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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.

Fast Five Movie Review

fast-five-movie-review Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent.

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I am going to keep this movie review very short. There are only a few things you need to know about Fast Five.

1. This movie is by-far the best of the series

2. It has some of the best action sequences I have seen in a long time

3. It has “heist movie” elements which are amazing (particularly if you like heist movies)

4. The story is nothing special but the movie is thoroughly entertaining and an absolute must-see

Mindless but mind-blowing entertainment

If you were getting bored of the “Fast” series, do not worry. Although the movie contains many common elements of its predecessors, it also introduces a number of new elements. Introducing heist components works well with the successful series and fans of movies like The Italian Job will enjoy the style of this movie.

The acting leaves a lot to be desired but remains bearable – even pretty good at times. Re-introducing old cast members adds to the experience and nostalgia. The support casts serves as one of the strongest points for the movie.

Although many of the action scenes remain over-the-top, their entertainment value cannot be denied. The stunts and effects in Fast Five are among Hollywood’s best. Few straight-up action movies are worthy of a 5 star rating but Fast Five earns it for its improvement over its predecessors, its heist-movie elements and its ultimate entertainment value.

Oh, and stay after the credits. Trust me. – D. Michaelangelo

Once you’ve seen the movie, come on back and we’ll chat about the ending.

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I could not believe what happened after the credits!!! Letty is alive??? Although I will miss the series, I was excited for this movie because it was a nice ending/wrap-up. Unfortunately it looks like they will be continue to milk the series (either that or the Letty thing completely throws off the neat ending). I am a fan of tidy endings. What do you think?