Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

A very early Test Screening review of Alfonso Cuaron's GRAVITY! Surprise, it is described as 'next level'!!!

Hey folks, Harry here...  This film doesn't hit theaters until November 21st, 2012...  GRAVITY is the next brilliant work of Alfonso Cuaron.   In the first paragraph, Stanley Boobrick, our intrepid spy, tells us that this was a very early and incomplete work in progress.   In the second paragraph, he tels you that this is "Next Level Shit!" and by that, I think he means SHIT in the awesome mind blowingly cool manner, not as in something that should be flushed.    In the third paragraph he tells us the story is profoundly simple, then begins to elaborate - if you want - read the first two paragraphs, it'll get you pumped, but if you're someone that wants to completely go in cold - and honestly - it's a Cuaron film - trust him.    Now for the rest of you, I'm going to continue (spoiler free).   In the fourth paragraph, Boobrick compares the experience of watching this to ENTER THE VOID - which is amazing.  In his final paragraph where he talks about how cruel it was to see this film incomplete, going from pristine space shots that made you feel as though you were there - and then the 16-bit pre-vis style effects - but I would have killed to see this.   As is - this is the film of the Fall that I'm very giddy to know is this good for just one of you.   This is a very positive test screening review - and I absolutely do not believe it is a PLANT.   Now - here ya go - if you want to know SOME of the movie, but doesn't give the big "what happens" of the movie.   So read if you must, but right now, I'm dying to see this!




I just got out of a test screening of Alfonso Cuaron’s new film Gravity. It was a “work-in-progress” print, with only about half of the shots having fully completed special effects. There were lots of unrendered 3D cubes, pre-visualizations & wires holding up Sandra Bullock’s ass to make it float. It felt a little like being shown 2001 and then during the Journey to the Unknown an iTunes Visualizer pops up, & they say “You get the idea right?” Or like watching James Franco raise Andy Serkis from infancy when you first watch Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. I feel justified in saying I’ve seen Gravity, but I haven’t SEEN GRAVITY, if you know what I’m saying. But I’ve seen enough. Here’s my review of what I did see: Gravity is a fucking masterpiece.


This is not just next level shit, this is several levels ahead of next level shit, & quite possibly the highest level shit you could possibly make. This is like if Avatar had been released in 1927 a week after The Jazz Singer. People won’t know how to comprehend what they are seeing. In short, Gravity genuinely makes you feel like you have been to space. It really, really does. And guess what? It’s beautiful, and awe-inspiring, and profound (and a little scary too), everything you thought it would be since you first thought about going to space when you were a kid. The movie exploits dreams it knows every sentient being has had, using the best special effects I have personally ever seen. I honestly don’t know how you could enhance a cinematic experience more. I kept waiting for a cameo from the Tupac hologram.


The story is profoundly simple. Sandra Bullock’s space ship is destroyed by space debris & she has to figure out how to get back to Earth. It’s told in real time without feeling like a gimmick & it has all the ludicrously long shots we’ve been promised. The movie never feels like “Phonebooth in Space!”, because the ‘one-location in real time’ aspect is vital to the story. The second after your space shuttle is hit by space debris you better believe every second of the next hour and a half counts (we’ll all know this first hand once Richard Branson gets his shit together). Don’t worry, I won’t give away the one spoiler in the movie, i.e. Will she make it?, cause that’s the only question you ask yourself the entire fucking movie. Cauron does a masterful job of setting up the impossible stakes & giving you hope & hopelessness at the same time. You have hope because you don’t believe a Hollywood movie studio would let Sandra Bullock burn up reentering our atmosphere (they paid a lot of money for her).


But by the way the film is shot, you feel hopeless. It has some of the best uses of first person POV shots I’ve ever seen, making you feel like you too are hovering right over the Earth, so close yet so far away. Other than Enter the Void, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more physically embodied as an onscreen character. It’s not POV the whole time though, Cauron breaks it up & often utilizes his signature ‘roaming-cameraman-who-never-cuts’ technique, which is very effective when there’s no gravity & for the ‘race-against-the-clockiness’ of the story. However, some people might end up saying that Gravity ends up being too light on story & is just an expensive space roller coaster ride, ‘Space Mountain: The Movie’ if you will. But those people would be wrong, stupid & ungrateful. Gravity is an important & subtle character study wrapped up in the guise of the most technologically advanced film of the new millennium. Sandra Bullock’s character has no family down on Earth. No friends. Her job is up in space. She’s struggling to get back to survive, but in truth, she doesn’t have much to live for down on that planet, so why even go through the effort? To me the film is about apathy and isolation. It’s about people today not knowing why they should be excited about living but only knowing they don’t want to die. It’s about looking at your own insignificance in the universe (or on Earth, or at your job, or at your school, etc.) & becoming empowered by it instead of defeated. And most of all, it’s about seeing what it would be like to float through space like an astronaut (spoiler: it’s fun).


It was amazing to see an early cut of this film but it was cruel and unusual to flip back and forth between the pristinely realized space footage and the 16-bit pre-viz stuff.  This cut still gets my ultra-rare 11 out of 10 rating though, & it can only go up after I see the 100% completed version.  Congratulations Mr.Cuaron, you sir have changed the game.


If you use this review, please call me Stanley Boobrick

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • But that's just me :)

  • May 3, 2012, 11:50 p.m. CST



  • May 3, 2012, 11:50 p.m. CST

    Aim it at her tits, Eddie...

    by Fa Fa Fooey

    That is all.

  • May 3, 2012, 11:51 p.m. CST

    Always trust a spy with "Boob" in his name.

    by Tarijeno

    Stanley Boobrick Steven Stielboob George Boobus

  • May 3, 2012, 11:53 p.m. CST

    Sounds great

    by lv_426

    Two ambitious space-centric movies in the same year. Prometheus Gravity

  • May 3, 2012, 11:54 p.m. CST

    James Franco... WHY did it have to be FRANCO?

    by daggor

    I love Cuaron's work. Franco, not so much.

  • May 3, 2012, 11:55 p.m. CST


    by lv_426

    Arnold Schwartzenboober Boob Willis Josh Booblin The Boobchowski Bros. Alfred Hitchboobcock

  • May 3, 2012, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Wilford Boobley

    by lv_426

    Watch out for the diaboobus!

  • May 3, 2012, 11:57 p.m. CST

    If only it weren't Sandra Bullock

    by Prior Walter

  • May 3, 2012, 11:58 p.m. CST

    Hated Enter The Void...

    by Jay

    But Noe is no Alfonso Cuaron, so I look forward to Gravity all the same.

  • May 3, 2012, 11:58 p.m. CST


    by Prior Walter

    James Franco isn't in this movie. ???

  • And I'm excited for the film. I'm hoping the Sandra Bullock pull can make Cuaron's star really burst box office-wise.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:04 a.m. CST

    Isn't George Clooney in this too?

    by lv_426

    Also, in the preview from Stanley Boobrick: *It’s about looking at your own insignificance in the universe...* Sounds like it will have some thematic similarities with Prometheus. Although, I'm betting Gravity will be the more uplifting of the two.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:06 a.m. CST

    I think Ive seen one Stanley Boobrick film

    by ajit maholtra

    It was called Booby Lyndon.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:10 a.m. CST

    Im excited for Stanley but...

    by LowDevil

    I think he ate too many brownies. This sure does sound like another hit for 2012 tho. What a fantastic year. Hope it doesnt end!?

  • May 4, 2012, 12:11 a.m. CST

    Re: Franco

    by Tarijeno

    Boobrick cited Rise of the Planet of the Apes in the article, specifically the relationship between Franco's and Serkis' characters. I think the reader who got confused just skimmed the article and mistook Franco for being in the movie.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:12 a.m. CST


    by Psyclops

    I don't think Franco's in it, but I heard George Clooney is. I think the reviewer was just making a point about how the unfinished effects in Rise of the Planet of the Apes would look if we saw Franco raise the actor Andy Serkis instead of the digital creation.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:17 a.m. CST

    re: ajit_maholtra

    by soup74

    you mean you didnt see 'How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Boob'?

  • May 4, 2012, 12:24 a.m. CST

    So Clooney dies in the first 15 minutes then?

    by MaxCalifornia.

    Spoiler alert!

  • May 4, 2012, 12:27 a.m. CST

    Really want to see this.

    by lotor666

    Give me 30 minute shots... My eyeballs are ready.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:32 a.m. CST

    lol soup74

    by ajit maholtra

    That is a funny one.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:46 a.m. CST

    Don't forget some of his later films

    by lv_426

    A Boobjob Orange The Boobing Full Metal Bra

  • May 4, 2012, 12:50 a.m. CST

    This seems more like it should be a Jodie Foster job.

    by kabong

    Sandra Bullock? <p> She gets on my nerves.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:51 a.m. CST

    This seems more like it should be a Jodie Foster job.

    by kabong

    Sandra Bullock? <p> She gets on my nerves.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:59 a.m. CST

    Sounds AWESOME!

    by ufoclub1977

    Can't wait to see this. ENTER THE VOID was simply the most remarkable film in the last 10 years or so.

  • Absolute perfection right there -Namaste-

  • People then would probably lose their shit. Especially with Heston being shirtless through much of the film and the idea of humanity being primitive subservient pets for intelligent apes. Then of course the twist at the end would do something awful to those poor flappers. They'd be saying *fuck me* like we do nowadays when a big twist takes us by surprise (substitute f-me with the more appropriate 1920's terms of horsefeathers or applesauce). It would be an outrage.

  • What a great pieces of art are making Hollywood studios this times!! AVENGERS, TDK RISES, PROMETHEUS, CHERNOBYL DIARIES, ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, EXPENDABLES 2!! I'm not sure about Spidey and MIB 3, but we'll see... Great time for movies!! Keep them coming!! Long live to the movies!! :)

  • May 4, 2012, 3:06 a.m. CST


    by mus42

    And District 9 was pretty fantastic so what's your point?

  • May 4, 2012, 3:16 a.m. CST

    mr. moe -- but this is 2012

    by lv_426

    The Avengers is the next Star Wars.

  • You want to see some beautiful shots of space? There are many other places to go. I have no interest in watching Miss Bullock float around for two hours.

  • May 4, 2012, 3:31 a.m. CST

    TouchingTheVoid does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    I think there is some confusion... Didn't this Boobrick guy mean TOUCHING THE VOID about the climber trying to survive a catstrophic accident in real time - that sounds a lot more like the theme of GRAVITY. And yeah... James Franco made 72 HOURS which was also a lot like TOUCHING THE VOID. But wasn't as good. Because it starred James Franco.

  • May 4, 2012, 3:34 a.m. CST

    Sounds like an old comic from Epic Illustrated...

    by -Halfscan-

    from the very short description.

  • May 4, 2012, 3:36 a.m. CST

    Cuarón built my car.

    by Dingbatty

    It's a love affair. Mainly Cuarón and my hot rod. Yeah, fuck it.

  • I find that extremely hard to believe, especially since the reviewer saw a film with incomplete SFX.

  • okay, now i am excited about this movie.

  • May 4, 2012, 5:32 a.m. CST

    if avatar came out in 1927, just a week after the jazz singer

    by Johnboy40

    People would have said "fuck me. Thats a long cartoon" They were a lot harder to impress in those old timey days.

  • May 4, 2012, 6:14 a.m. CST


    by gotilk


  • May 4, 2012, 6:19 a.m. CST

    I have high hopes for this one.

    by gotilk

    But now I'm just... giddy. I'm tellin' ya. If you think it's a gimmick, the future's just gonna pass you right by. You could watch Avatar in 2d. You could watch Citizen Kane with the sound off. You can watch The Wizard of Oz with the saturation turned down all the way. But... WHY??

  • May 4, 2012, 6:21 a.m. CST


    by gotilk

    Nah, they would have run screaming from the theater and then found James Cameron in order to burn him at the stake. WITCH!!!!

  • May 4, 2012, 6:28 a.m. CST

    I loved 'Enter The Void' for it's ambition but...

    by workshed

    ...boy, was it flawed. Still, as trippy a film as you're likely to encounter in mainstream Cinema. Either way, I'll watch whatever Cuaron does, but I doubt it will be as deep, or make you ponder on your existence, as Tarkowsky's 'Solaris' did.

  • May 4, 2012, 6:58 a.m. CST

    Believe this report

    by Chaplins_tache

    I had the good fortune of being out for a few drinks with some of the VFx crew a while back. They were all seasoned veterans who had worked on every tentpole movie of the last 5 years. When i met them while they were working "John Carter" their verdict of the movie was "Weeelll, maybe it will be good". These people work very hard, for a very long time and its always pressure, so they tend to very, very cagey in terms of how the movie is going to be. This movie is different though- every single one of them is absolutely exhausted working on this movie, as the shots are so incredibly complex. Yet they have never seemed happier. They cannot wait to see it in the cinema, they think its going to make everybody think again about what a movie can realise. If you've seen "Children of Men" and were impressed by the car chase and the escape through the flat one-shots, then imagine an entire film told with that kind of storytelling. In space. In 3D.

  • May 4, 2012, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Did he see it in 3D?

    by screenplay3

    I wish it was shot in 3D instead of converted. I movie like this screams native 3D.

  • May 4, 2012, 7:40 a.m. CST

    Cuaron is the mexican Malick

    by animas

    cinematography is always his best quality. although, the phrase "Sandra Bullock's spaceship" makes me cringe at the casting.

  • May 4, 2012, 7:42 a.m. CST

    That was terribly written

    by Rex Carsalot

    Three paragraphs to get to the point, and every third word is shit? That about sums up the vibe around here as of late.

  • May 4, 2012, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Stanley Boobrick? HAH

    by D.Vader

  • May 4, 2012, 7:52 a.m. CST

    Who's scoring this thing?

    by No Respectable Gentleman

    The film is so far really flying under the radar. I'm treating it as a safety net, in case PROMETHEUS disappoints.

  • May 4, 2012, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Remember Forbidden Planet?...

    by Pat Grant

    Time to visit its new homage NOW -

  • Was it actually a "good" movie, well is up to you. Personally I thought it was but I can see why people don't like it. Also it has some of the best special effects ever.

  • May 4, 2012, 8:01 a.m. CST

    Forget Nolan, Cameron, Jackson

    by Samuel Fulmer

    In Cuaron we trust.

  • May 4, 2012, 8:05 a.m. CST

    "Enter the Void" was pretentious and predictable..

    by seansarto

  • May 4, 2012, 8:15 a.m. CST

    If a hologram of tupac appeared I would shoot at it.

    by UltraTron

  • May 4, 2012, 8:16 a.m. CST


    by HoboCode

    Pull my finger.

  • May 4, 2012, 8:28 a.m. CST

    Sandra Bullock.

    by Pat

    Right out of the gate I'm going to have trouble suspending my disbelief that the beautiful and charming Sandra Bullock has no friends, let alone family. The only thing I can think of is she must be a complete bitch, and if that's the case, why would I pull for her to get where she needs to be? Is it really that important to get a "big name" attached to these projects?

  • May 4, 2012, 8:57 a.m. CST

    I like that Children of Men movie

    by ajit maholtra

    That's where Arnold Schwarzenegger is having a baby and then he marries Danny Devito. It's sooooo funny movie.

  • May 4, 2012, 8:59 a.m. CST


    by gotilk


  • May 4, 2012, 9:13 a.m. CST

    So Clooney Dies? Because I thought he was in this to

    by Wcwlkr

    Sounds like a bit Sam L Jackson Deep Blue Sea style marketing. You market it as a film Starring George Clooney and Bullock then Clooney bites in the first 10 minutes. Like Sam L in Deep Blue Sea.

  • May 4, 2012, 9:21 a.m. CST

    I'm sure this will get the love and hate that Tree of Life got

    by alienindisguise

    Some will call it the greatest thing since tits and others will think it's an utterly boring, pretentious sack of shit.

  • May 4, 2012, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Enter the Void

    by CuervoJones

    Man, that movie was exhausting (in a good way)

  • May 4, 2012, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Children of Men. Yessir.

    by DukieMichaelNamondRandy

    While I think there may be a bit of OverHype going on in this review, I DO agree that Cuaron made one of the most hopeless movies with a glimmer of hope I have ever seen in the last decade. And that film was "Children of Men". The most hopeless film? "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." Just kidding! I just don't like the Harry Potter movies. In fact, that one was my fave of the ones I was forced to experience.

  • May 4, 2012, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Cannot Fucking Wait!

    by some dude

    Simple as that. Even me huge distaste for Sandra Bullock will not stop me from being excited for a new Alfonso Cuaron movie about SPACE!

  • May 4, 2012, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Shouldn't it be ...

    by DrMorbius

    Academy Award Winning Actress ... Sandra Buttock!!!

  • May 4, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    You're entering a golden age of Sci-Fi cinema people

    by jimmy_009

    I don't think anyone even realizes completely what's happening to sci-fi cinema. Of course geekdom is going to nit-pik it apart the whole way through, but this is the best time in film history to be a Sci-Fi fan, bar none.

  • May 4, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST


    by Johnny Wrong be dull and uninteresting. Cuaron is the man...I look forward to this. Great to see the Sandra getting a decent role, too.

  • May 4, 2012, 10:14 a.m. CST

    Not the biggest fan of the Space Shuttle here, but...

    by BurnHollywood

    ...Don't even dream of comparing Richard Branson's daffy little sub-orbital shuttlecock to a full-blown, low-orbit space vehicle. The spoiled billionaire that will take us to the stars is Elon Musk, although he seriously needs to keep up in the Nude Bimbo On His Back While Waterskiing race...

  • There are few actual artists working in genre films today, and Cuaron is one of them.

  • May 4, 2012, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Oh, and PLANT

    by BurnHollywood

    Dead giveaway is the spy's obsession with the realism of zero gravity...what, watching a Skylab astronaut doing somersaults in 70s stock footage a zillion times hasn't prepared you for how awesome it is? Don't care, because Cuaron delivers and I'll haul ass to see it anyway. Disappointed in the PR campaign, but that's like being disappointed in a donkey that won't fetch a newspaper.

  • May 4, 2012, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Great Ministry/Butt-hole Surfer's reference Dingbatty!!

    by Darth Macchio

    Soon I discovered...that this rock thing was true. Jerry Lee Lewis was the devil. Jesus was an architect previous to his career as a profit. Soon enough I found myself in love with the world and the only thing I could do was ding a ding dong my dingalong ling long.

  • May 4, 2012, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Fuck yes.

    by Bigdada

    Exciting news.

  • May 4, 2012, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Just keep Bullock from screaming/whining like she did in Speed...

    by Darth Macchio

    The most annoying part of Speed was her screaming/whining voice: very nasal and ear-ringing inducing. But she's more capable an actor than most of you give credit, smoking hot in Demolition Man (sorry, had to say it) so I don't think it's bad casting (and Jodie Foster? again in space? is that why she's been suggested? sure she's a great actor but Sandra's obviously capable as well and hasn't ever done any pure sci-fi which is what this sounds like)... but, all that aside, she's got the most annoying voice once it increases in decibel. Winona Ryder suffers from a similar affliction - beautiful girl, very capable actor, talented, etc..but the moment she gets loud, my ears want to kill me.

  • May 4, 2012, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Will the Posters who Decry the Lack of Originality in Hollywood

    by Lesbianna_Winterlude

    also avoid this one in droves?

  • May 4, 2012, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Oh, screw IMAX...

    by BurnHollywood

    Digital projection has already overtaken this horseshit 4:3 behemoth in resolution. Wow, a TV screen the size of a four story building. Pan And Fucking Scan has never looked so good...thanks for charging me extra for this. Oh, and I can pay more to wear welder's goggles/horse blinders (3D, they call them) too? Here's my credit card. Take my money while I squint at the darkened picture.

  • May 4, 2012, 11:04 a.m. CST

    at this moment Angelina is filled with regret

    by David

    for not taking the role that was written for her

  • May 4, 2012, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Nice article!

    by Timothy Boone

    This is exactly the sort of stuff AICN needs to get back to running.

  • May 4, 2012, 11:32 a.m. CST

    Will she surf the atmosphere like in Dark Star?

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    Alien space sharks would be a nice touch. Then it could be Open Water in Space.

  • May 4, 2012, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Enter The Void POV? - I'm there.

    by barry convex

    Sandra Bullock's ass? - I'm there. Combine the two? - Priceless.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:12 p.m. CST

    I'll call bullshit on this right now.

    by one9deuce

    Alfonso Cuaron is brilliant. But "showing a 20's audience AVATAR"?? Fuck you and fuck that. AVATAR blew my 21st century mind. GRAVITY will be great I'm sure, but floating around in a ship in space is going to be some quantum leap? No. It won't. Hell, AVATAR already did that particular thing anyway. When Jake wakes from hyper sleep and is floating around in that huge ship. Enough with the hyperbole.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:20 p.m. CST

    buckethead.... that is SO SAD....

    by gotilk

    What a great guy, too. That's just crushing. WAY too young.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:20 p.m. CST


    by gotilk

    I hope she lands in Benson , Arizona.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:35 p.m. CST

    RIP MCA... "My name is MCA I gotta license to Kill"

    by Tank Williams

    Fucking Beastie Boys for life.

  • May 4, 2012, 12:39 p.m. CST


    by gotilk

    Quite possibly. The same crowd that made Moon such a massive hit. lol We bitch and moan about this stuff and then just won't show up for the original ideas once they actually hit the screen. It doesn't help of course that to see Moon when it actually hit screens in my area, I had to drive out of town. Those 30-screen massive movie houses REALLY PISS ME OFF. I remember when they used to promise foreign films, indie films and such would be presented in their 28th, 29th and 30th screens. Liars.

  • May 4, 2012, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Children of Men is still one of my favorite movies....

    by The_guy_in_the_rated_R_movie

    This sounds pretty bad ass, something new. I'll get my ass in the theatre to see this.

  • May 4, 2012, 2:15 p.m. CST


    by gotilk

    Yes!!! That film proved that this director knows how to build tension better than almost any director, ever. That movie was just relentless !!!

  • May 4, 2012, 2:17 p.m. CST

    This is such a weird review

    by D o o d

    on one hand he's describing the most boring concept ever and on the other hand he's talking of it as Next Level shit in cinema. I love Alfonso Cuaron's work so I'm sure I'm going to like it. However, this review is odd and doesn't quite sit well with me!

  • May 4, 2012, 3:55 p.m. CST


    by the artist formerly known as messi

    Man when that movie came out this site went apeshit. Like we were brainfucked by the most beautiful woman ever. And her name was Alfonso Lubezski. I love you btw CUARON IS THE FUTURE

  • May 4, 2012, 4:11 p.m. CST

    for all those that hated or liked Enter the Void...

    by la te ral us

    have you seen Renegade with vincent cassel?? i fucking adore that film and i feel its deeper and more spiritual and its still far more psychedelic and the triply effects are a lot better. a great thrilling metaphysical shamanistic western.

  • May 4, 2012, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Cuaron could film a dog turd for two hours...

    by SuckholePunch

    And I'd still watch it...excitedly.

  • May 4, 2012, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Alfonso Cuaron is the Mexican Kubrick!!!

    by krull rules

    He's also the best there is right now. Nolan comes in second.

  • I guess that was because of Demolition Man. Other brunettes in space: Wife in "Lost in Space" movie, and the Final Fantasy chick. Brunettes in space are awesome. I like Sandra Bullock.

  • May 4, 2012, 4:52 p.m. CST

    I like all the love for Cuaron

    by D o o d

    and I don't disagree with it, I love his work. However, I'm still confused about that review. It just doesn't make any sense!

  • May 4, 2012, 5:06 p.m. CST

    d o o d

    by CodeName

    I thought it was just me. I didn't understand this review either. Had to reread it a few times.

  • May 4, 2012, 5:34 p.m. CST

    Cuaron getting his deserved props.

    by NotEnoughBiehn

    Children of Men was stunning. The camera work/style blew me away, and I'm not just talking about the long takes. There were even small movements/shots that made me think "This guy has It." (major credit also to Lubezki, of course) Y Tu Mama Tambien was...something. Still don't know how I feel about that movie, but it left an impression. He made Harry Potter more than just a nice kid's movie. I'm not really a Kubrick fan, but I've always thought if any current director is the new him, it's him.

  • May 4, 2012, 6:21 p.m. CST

    Sounds great...but talk to me after it's EDITED.

    by DoctorWho?

    Until then it means nothing.

  • May 4, 2012, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Jimmy009, I full-heartedly agree. It was a trend I noticed this year...

    by ChaunceyGardiner

    And it was one of the reasons that I was so devestated by the lack of zeal shown by the Oscar nominations this year. It was such a diverse year, and yet it was treated as though nothing of note occurred. The fact was that several genres had invested in them some very talented filmmakers, men and women carrying interesting ideas about telling very specific stories and who had been encouraged by the interest and development given their respective genres in the past two years. Specifically I am speaking about the year's comedies and the year's science fiction. And these films were all fomented in a season that spawned many other brothers and sisters, allowing for us to see the many expressions of those chosen storytelling mediums. While "the Adjustment Bureau" had more in common with a Frank Capra fantasy film (like the majestic "It's a Wonderful Life" or fascinateing "Lost Horizon), we could see in it the use of the genre as a story template upon which some very romantic, but nonetheless interesting, ideas could be explored in an unusual and entertaining manner. I felt similarly about "Source Code," which used the tropes and style of a thriller to introduce by its end some pretty extraordinary concepts - to the point that, while I was watching the film at the dollar theatre, I happened to turn and look at the people around me and while noteing their interest, realizeing also that 90 to 95% had absolutely, positively no idea what it was talking about. Excellent. And then on to two of my top favourites from the year: "Super 8" and "Another Earth." Of all the negative hype surrounding Abrams reliance upon Spielbergian mechanisms for milking emotion from the audience, I think they missed the fact that it was not merely a homage but a love letter to the science fiction genre itself. For every bit of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Jaws," and "E.T." that it had in it, it was actually the atomic and Cold War age classic of sci-fi thought "It Came From Outer Space" that really I was reminded of. Abrams also threw in some pretty wonderful science-fiction ideas, like the modeling of the extraterrestial after a mole cricket and a spider or the awesome introduction of the ship's strange metallurgical components. I also really like the use of telepathy in the film - and the idea of the alien as a refugee scientist. "Another Earth" on the other hand was so strange and new and conformed to the hard bones of 1950s and 60s science fiction (Asimov, Bradbury) short story style storytelling at its finest, with its emphasis on idea generation and a genuine connection to the science of the day and the future that it bespoke, the society it promised and/or warned of, the message sent back from that place in the future to tell us of the condition of our own civilization. (I was also reminded of H.G. Wells, the idea of exploration.) - and if it seems as though I am pretty very spastic and unfocused, it is much due to how surprised and pleased I was with "Another Earth." It put humans and human drama front and center in a story in which the unfolding of a new and terrifying scientific epoch causes its characters to seriously contemplate their existence and their place in the universe, to mull over the bareness with which they've been laid, the nudity of the unprotected individual in a dawning age. It was a re-affirming film for me, not only about humanity and our essential nature, but about the genre and its possibilities. There were other works that flirted with the genre, "Attack the Block" with its Carpenter style aesthetics of social commentary draped with a science fiction drop cloth or "Tree of Life" with its genuine awe at the expanse of the universe, but those above are the ones that made me notice the occurance of more and more films that are genuinely in love with science and the possibilites it proclaims. To me, to love science is to be an explorer, to hold the world as wondrous. And that, that is exciteing.

  • May 4, 2012, 7:43 p.m. CST

    Why did it have to be Sandra Bullock?

    by HollywoodHellraiser

    I never thought of her as a strong actress and she just doesn't blend into her roles. Damn shame my interest in this has now hit zero thanks to Sandra Bullock.

  • May 4, 2012, 10:03 p.m. CST

    Felix will save her!

    by REDD

  • but I liked your write up on some of last years films. I agree with what you're saying about science and science fiction lovers being explorers at heart. To me, sci-fi is not supposed to be an arena to put high tech stuff in it for the sake of blowing stuff up, but an invitation to dream or search for things beyond the everyday. That is why it is my favorite genre of storytelling. A good drama about everyday life is nice and all, but a good and properly ambitious work of science fiction can both shine a light into the darkness as well as reflect that light back onto the contemporary waking reality we know as the normal.

  • May 4, 2012, 11:39 p.m. CST

    Sandra Bullock and science fiction

    by lv_426

    Also, now with Stallone being in the spotlight again with The Expendables 2, how about a Demolition Man sequel with Bullock returning as well? I've always felt that Demolition Man was sort of a kindred spirit to another fun satirical sci-fi film of that late 80's to early 90's period of macho action films. If you haven't guessed the other film I am referring to, it's RoboCop. Now that we are getting a RoboCop remake, wouldn't it be better to get a Demolition Man sequel with the original cast intact, instead of another remake/reboot?

  • Liked how you interpretted what I said lv_426 (great name by the way), and it was actually helpful. I had forgotten to add "Contagion" to the list as it is not a film instantly recognizeable as science fiction. So when I remember it, I was haveing a bit of trouble trying to knead it in with the others but you, unbeknownst to yourself, had already solved my problem for me when you said, "... a good and properly ambitious work of science fiction can both shine a light into the darkness as well as reflect the light back onto the contemporary waking reality we know as the normal." Serveing as a piece of speculative fiction (I love that moniker when used to describe certain subtypes of sci-fi, and feel it is quite underused, almost analogous to our language describeing the genre now) "Contagion" uses our current realization of the horror of a highly contagious disease in an era of international high-speed travel alongside the current hot topic of disease mutation, and then it uses the example of history on how a world dealing with pestilience reacts, in essence createing a vast tapestry of disaster in which the past informs the present and helps to create a picture of the possibility of the future. Easily one of the most intelligent films of the year, and one of the closest films to come eerily close to Kubrick's detached almost clinical study of human frailty. It was one of those films that made me prick up my ears to the winds of change going on in film, and the newly softening view towards the possibilities of science-fiction. It's been a while.

  • Why the hyperbole? Such reviews come across as being written from the desk of a shill; discrediting both critic and film in the process. Despite my annoyance with this "review", I'm still looking forward to GRAVITY. Cuaron is a talented filmmaker.

  • May 5, 2012, 2:57 p.m. CST

    What the fuck are "first person POV shots?"

    by Gabe Athouse

    As opposed to what kind of POV shots? This reviewer is a moron.

  • May 6, 2012, 1:52 p.m. CST

    On the likelihood of this film being a revolutionary motion picture.

    by ChaunceyGardiner

    For one, the idea of a film being revolutionary can be see as manifested in two ways: one, it employs an idea not generally accepted as successful and not only employs it in the best possible way, but uses it in such a pervasive and efficient way that that technique is seen as the new paradigm in filmmakeing technology and/or storytelling (motion capture for Gollum on "Lord of the Rings," all computer-generated images in the films of James Cameron, how sound was fully integrated into "the Jazz Singer" and not merely as sound effects, Stanley Kubrick's steady cam, Michael Mann's use of digital cameras for studio films, Spielberg's exploiation of the summer film release schedule, etc.). The other way in which a specific film influences the entire artform is a much more gradual progress. It is not merely apeing a certain technique but a use of a style that appears in a film that does not actively affect the entire movie going public until years, sometimes decades later. This is because that film is often more specialized than others, and/or is far ahead of all other films of its age artistically, that it is not seen by a wide audience - but the audience that does witness it is changed by it. This audience often contain film appreciators and future filmmakers, and sometimes containns current filmmakers who are greatly impresses and challanged by what they've seen. When I was thinking of the reviewer's comments, I felt that it was mighty high praise - but praise that does not immediately resound in its readership. For one, it makes you want to see the film. For another, it is quite vague. So I began to think about what he could have might possibly meant. This lead me to contemplate films that somehow change things, or change the medium. And I realize, so many people were talking about "Children of Men;" for this particular crowd "Children of Men" is most definately a defineing film. It came along in a time where the action genre itself appealed only to a very specific audience of young men. The biggest change had been wireworks introduced to American audeinces at the turn of the new century by "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "the Matrix." But this was a superficial stylization; what "Children of Men" added was a dimension of immersiveness. The long continuous shots were mere stylitic choices that go far back to Kubrick and "Paths of Glory," but added to this was how the technique was adapted particularly to this store of a crumbleing society. It brought a new found momentum to a tired genre that was not merely simple technological wonder - it reminded those who watched that film of how sorely other films of the same genre were lacking, stuck in time, and generateing the same events over and over. Filmmakers now are trying to recapture that magic, to bring spontaneity and that ever elusive suspension of disbelief to their films that they realzied was lacking when they saw "Children of Men." The use of small details to build a believeable dystopia, the constant sense of motion even in sequences that were not action-based (the initial interment sequence and the bus ride in, the tension it built), the fact that the camera almost never leaves the hero's side but roams around him like an aura searching out and being in contention, at the whim of, the world around him. They were multitude of specific stylistic choices that amounted to an effect much larger than their individual parts. I don't think that anyone who read a review of "Children of Men" could have expected the impact that film had on them. In fact, I think such a review would have sounded very much like this one: vague, excited, slightly confused but exuberant none-the-less. Oh, and surprised. True film innovations and the great films that spawn them, they remind us of what so many mundane thrown-at-the-screen films have lost: the art of surprise.

  • It's unbelievable -- so assured, at once so polished and so raw -- now there is a film that took talent at every level.