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Gravity poster

Review: Gravity, Mr. Pip, Grown Ups 2, Battle of the Year 3D and 2 Guns

By Cinema and Reviews

Gravity movie still

Gravity posterIs Gravity the first really new film of the 21st Century? I haz­ard it may be. It is cer­tainly the first to har­ness the bleed­ing edge of the cur­rent tech­no­lo­gies (per­form­ance cap­ture, 3D, soph­ist­ic­ated robot­ic cam­era rigs) to serve a story that could only really exist in this form. Sure, once his ears had stopped bleed­ing Georges Meliés would totally recog­nise what dir­ect­or Alfonso Cuarón and his screen­writer part­ner (and son) Jonás are doing here, but he would be the first to put his hand up to say that he would­n’t have been able to do it. Same for Kubrick, I suspect.

During a routine shuttle mis­sion high above the Earth, astro­nauts Sandy Bullock and George Clooney are strug­gling to make some adjust­ments to the Hubble tele­scope when Houston (a nicely cast Ed Harris) warns them of some incom­ing debris. A Russian spy satel­lite has been des­troyed by its own­ers caus­ing a chain reac­tion as the little bug­gers kick-off all over the place. Tiny frag­ments of satel­lite travel at leth­al speeds on roughly the same orbit and our her­oes have to get to safety before they risk being vaporised.

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Preview: Festivals Far and Near

By Cinema

Today, at the Virginia Theater in Urbana Ill., a few thou­sand cinephiles and Ebert-olytes are gath­er­ing for the first day of the 15th Ebertfest, formerly known as Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival. I should be with them – I even bought a pass back in November last year – but a change of job meant no annu­al leave and no money for the flight. Normally, I would just say, “there’ll always be next year” but with Mr. Ebert’s recent passing I don’t know if that will be true.

Instead, we turn our atten­tion to loc­al events and there’s plenty to keep us enter­tained on top of all the new com­mer­cial releases. For a start, the new NZFF Autumn Events ini­ti­at­ive  – repla­cing the much-loved (by me) World Cinema Showcase – gets under way today and the fest­iv­al organ­isa­tion were good enough to slip me a few screen­ers so I could tip you off about some of the less-heralded titles. So, I’m going to pre­sume you are already famil­i­ar with Lawrence of Arabia and will be camp­ing out overnight to see the the only two screen­ings of the – reportedly – mag­ni­fi­cent 4k res­tor­a­tion and instead I’ll take a look at a couple of docos and a couple of oth­er features.

The Deep posterI was a little snarky towards the NZFF on Twitter when they announced that Baltasar Kormákur’s The Deep was going to play. After all, the last film of his that loc­al audi­ences got to see was the woe­ful Contraband star­ring Mark Wahlberg. It turns out that was a Hollywood remake of an already suc­cess­ful Icelandic thrill­er that Mr. Kormákur pro­duced and very likely his director’s fee made The Deep pos­sible. So, snark withdrawn.

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