"Gravity" is everything that is great about going to the movies.
It's unlike anything you've ever seen - full of breathtaking visuals that should be witnessed on the biggest screen you can find.
The story is simple: A medical engineer (Sandra Bullock) and astronaut (George Clooney) are stranded in space after debris from a satellite destroys their space shuttle.
The accident leaves the pair adrift, desperately trying to find a way back to Earth.
"Gravity" was directed by Alfonso Cuaron, whose previous work includes "Children of Men," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and the little seen gem "Y Tu Mama Tambien." I've always been a fan of Cuaron's work, but he takes it to another level in "Gravity," creating a film that puts the audience right in the middle of this enormous landscape.
The cinematography is stunning and the 3-D element does in fact add another dimension to the spectacular visual effects.
"Gravity" is a film that could have gotten by on its amazing look and succeeded, but Bullock and Clooney give it a human element that takes the film to another level.
Yes, this is an effects-driven vehicle, but as the film progressed, I found myself just as caught up in the plight of the characters, wanting them to overcome the catastrophe and get to safety.
It's a credit to both actors, especially Bullock, that the audience actually cares about the characters, giving "Gravity" a human element that I think was missing in "Avatar."
That film nearly rode its revolutionary use of 3-D to a Best Picture Oscar. I can see "Gravity" gaining the same momentum. This is easily among the best films of 2013.
DVD dandy of the week
This week's dandy is "Much Ado About Nothing" (B+), the Joss Whedon update of the Shakespeare comedy that offers a fresh spin on the material.
The story remains the same, with a bit of modern flare, chronicling two romances that bloom at the same time. Claudio (Fran Kranz) and Hero (Jillian Morgese) are young lovers whose impending marriage is tested when Don John (Sean Maher) concocts a plan to create a divide between the couple.
As their courtship is explored, another develops between Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Beatrice (Amy Acker), a quick-witted pair who publicly voice their disdain for love and marriage, yet quickly find themselves attracted to each other when they are led to believe that there is a mutual attraction.
Whedon rounded up a lot of his friends and filmed the movie in his home on a shoestring budget. The result is a film that tweaks the original material to create a delightful little romantic comedy that should please everyone.
Acker and Denisof have great chemistry, delivering the Shakespearean language with an amazing effortlessness. They are funny, sharp and sexy, giving the material a hip edge.
I will concede that it does take a bit to get used to the dialogue, which remains intact from the original material, but once you do, "Much Ado About Nothing" is pretty darned entertaining.
"Much Ado About Nothing" is rated PG-13 for some sexuality and brief drug use and is available on DVD.
-- To get sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton's thoughts on all things movies, visit his blog at mcompton.wordpress.com or his Twitter page at twitter.com/mcompton428. Email him at email@example.com.
Credit: By MICHEAL COMPTON The Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org 783-3247
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