‘Phil’s Quick Capsule Review’ (a nod to legendary comedian Bill Hicks who coined the phrase when he reviewed ‘Piece Of Shit’ movie Basic Instinct)… where a perfect 10 is rarer than a rain free British summer!
Written by Phil Hobden – UK based podcaster, writer and former filmmaker. Part of the All Things Film network…
Phil’s Quick Capsule Review: Children Of Men was one of the most original and thought provoking films of 2006 and rewatching it is still as brilliant and impactful as the day I first watched it. The dystopian world created by Cuarón is so real you can almost taste it. This, backed up with some epic cinematography (not least one of the best ‘one take’ shots in cinema) and you have a real must own film. In short Children Of Men is powerful, expertly made and once again shows that with the right script and director, Clive Owen is as good as anyone out there.
Best Bit: The one-take Bexhill sequence
Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy
If You Liked this Try: The Road, Akira, World War Z
Phil Hobden is the former Film Editor & Writer for renowned martial arts focused COMBAT MAGAZINE in the UK. He is also a filmmaker in his own right, having produced two cult Independent action films in LEFT FOR DEAD and TEN DEAD MEN. He was the host for the award nominated Filmsploitation podcast for 4 years, currently co-hosts Ross And Phil Talk Movies and is a writer/editor for his own blog Phil’s Quick Capsule Review…
The Review: In what seems like a very short space of time, the 3D experience has become a huge part of both the cinema and home viewing experience.
However, very few films have used the technique to its full potential and studios have seen it as merely a cash cow by churning out last minute conversions on films that have left the public jaded and cheated by this lazy attempt to justify a more expensive ticket.
So now we have the latest in 3D wizardry in the shape of Gravity. A much hyped sci-fi tale of stranded astronauts in space.
Alfonso Cuarón directs after a 7 year gap since his masterpiece Children of Men, resulting in a great deal of attention from the industry as to what he would produce next.
The story revolves around two astronauts, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who are carrying out routine repairs above the earth’s atmosphere.
A freak accident suddenly causes a vast amount of satellite debris to be knocked into their path resulting in Stone being detached from the crew and fighting for her life.
To say any more about the plot would spoil the experience, but what is important is to focus on the breathtaking visuals in the film.
This is a film that is all about the audience experiencing a thrilling 3 dimensional ride.
As soon as the film begins we are presented with a silent beautiful view of earth from above. We then begin to see the shuttle and Clooney drifting into shot where we continue in one take and witness the crew go about their repairs.
The fluid one take shots are outstanding, the camera never staying still and drifting with the crew as they communicate with each other and with NASA. I’ve no doubt this is as close as you will get to experiencing what these brave individuals go through from the comfort of a chair.
Sound design and score have been carefully crafted with moments of deathly silence only to be jolted from your seat with the booming sound and sights of space debris.
The film does however have some issues with pacing and also character development.
The focus is very much on Sandra Bullocks’ character, a novice astronaut with a tragic past. However it is Clooneys’ character that needed more development. His wisecracks and charisma work early on in the film but later on when the situation turns even darker, his reaction to the situation simply didn’t ring true for me.
The film is saved however by the final act, a truly nerve shredding and emotional finale that sees Bullocks’ character fighting for her life.
Visually the film has certainly done something that I have never seen before and to an extent has restored some faith in 3D filmmaking. However, the hype machine is simply not justified and that comes down to the script which needed to go through a few more drafts to develop the characters more.
Alfonso Cuarón is a masterful director no question, but I do hope he doesn’t focus too much energy on pushing the technology in his future work and lose the human touch that he has displayed in his previous films.