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J.A.A. Purves

Gravity (2013)

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Wow, I can't believe we didn't have a topic for this until yesterday.

This was my most anticipated film of 2012 until it was moved until 2013. Now it's my most anticipated film of 2013.


@Timzila

"It is the business of fiction to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind." (Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners).

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"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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I think I'm with Jeffrey Wells on this one -- it would be nice if a version of the film existed with realistic (which is to say, minimal) sound effects, a la 2001: A Space Odyssey.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Watching Sandra Bullock float away in that trailer, I was reminded of this earlier film from the same director...


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I think I'm with Jeffrey Wells on this one -- it would be nice if a version of the film existed with realistic (which is to say, minimal) sound effects, a la 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Or you could just mute the trailer sound and play

along with it.

I normally wouldn't advocate listening to Mayer under any circumstances, but it kind of works here.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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http://youtu.be/C4pcg7bXgmU

Edited by Darryl A. Armstrong

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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You know, I loved CHILDREN OF MEN and think Cuarón is great, but these trailers aren't doing too much for me. It's the Sandra Bullock/George Clooney and the Arvo Pärt, it's just not working. And I like Clooney and Arvo Pärt too! So I don't know what it is.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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You know, I loved CHILDREN OF MEN and think Cuarón is great, but these trailers aren't doing too much for me. It's the Sandra Bullock/George Clooney and the Arvo Pärt, it's just not working. And I like Clooney and Arvo Pärt too! So I don't know what it is.

Funny, I commented almost exactly the same reaction on Facebook yesterday.  Basically said that while I love virtually everything about the trailer, two things take me completely out of it.  Clooney and Bullock.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Another clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alq4CHqEL6A

So far, this is not quite what I'd expected. And in these trailers there's something about the little white figures bobbing around which makes me want to laugh. I really hope the actual cinematic experience is gut-wrenchingly intense with moments of sheer heart-stopping beauty and terror. 

 

 

 

You know, I loved CHILDREN OF MEN and think Cuarón is great, but these trailers aren't doing too much for me. It's the Sandra Bullock/George Clooney and the Arvo Pärt, it's just not working. And I like Clooney and Arvo Pärt too! So I don't know what it is.

Funny, I commented almost exactly the same reaction on Facebook yesterday.  Basically said that while I love virtually everything about the trailer, two things take me completely out of it.  Clooney and Bullock.

 

Yeah, I don't think they'd have been any audience member's first choice pairing for this. Plus I gather Clooney's screen time is quite limited and the main weight of the picture is firmly on Bullock's shoulders.

As for Arvo Part - I love his music, but Spiegel Im Spiegel has suffered overkill as one of those 'go to' tracks for a quick tug at the emotions.

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As I said on Facebook, I really really hope the movie doesn't have the music that was in that last clip, in particular. I want the bleak ominous void of silence, like Kubrick had in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I don't want overbearing music telling me just how much anxiety I ought to be feeling.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Saw this trailer the other day.  I was impressed for the sole reason: how often do you see a trailer with only four EDIT: Nine (apparently I wasn't paying full attention to it at the beginning) cuts in it?  (Even if the music and dialogue is a little overbearing)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6L0sYP-1YM

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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Saw this trailer the other day.  I was impressed for the sole reason: how often do you see a trailer with only four cuts in it?  (Even if the music and dialogue is a little overbearing)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6L0sYP-1YM

Wouldn't it be interesting if Bullock's character was the one in control while Clooney's was the one screaming, "What do I do? What do I do?"  For some reason this trailer awakens the feminist in me.

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Saw this trailer the other day.  I was impressed for the sole reason: how often do you see a trailer with only four cuts in it?  (Even if the music and dialogue is a little overbearing)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6L0sYP-1YM

Not to be nitpicky, I think it's a great trailer, but I counted nine cuts. smile.png


In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."

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Saw this trailer the other day.  I was impressed for the sole reason: how often do you see a trailer with only four cuts in it?  (Even if the music and dialogue is a little overbearing)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6L0sYP-1YM

Not to be nitpicky, I think it's a great trailer, but I counted nine cuts. smile.png

 

Thanks; I must have condensed some of the quick ones at the beginning when they first approached the station.  But I'm still impressed by takes in a trailer that last longer than one second, especially in this summer of noisy, explosive, incessant action blockbusters.

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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I got your point, and it's a good one to make. Even at nine cuts, that's likely 1/10 of the number in a normal action movie trailer these days. The very paucity of cuts shows how reliant most trailers are on frenetic editing rather than on genuine suspense. Most FILMS, for that matter.


In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."

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I don't know if you guys read the earlier descriptions of the film when they first surfaced, but apparently the film opens with a 17-min long take, and uses lots of other long takes. Expect it to have a much higher ASL (average shot length) than most Hollywood films.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Long takes aren't new for Cuaron (Children of Men has several).

 

The trailer for The Turin Horse only has 4 shots (with pull quotes in between them) and one of the trailers for The Day He Arrives is a single take played in reverse.

Edited by Tyler

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Aren't some of Cuaron's "long shots" actually multiple shots with the seams taken out via CG? I guess an argument could be made that a "shot" is whatever ends up in the film, rather than what was filmed on the day. (I'd say "takes" applies mainly to what was shot on the day, though.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Aren't some of Cuaron's "long shots" actually multiple shots with the seams taken out via CG? I guess an argument could be made that a "shot" is whatever ends up in the film, rather than what was filmed on the day. (I'd say "takes" applies mainly to what was shot on the day, though.)

Yes. I agree on the distinction between the two - Cuaron uses long shots, but there's some stitching of 'takes' using CGI.


@Timzila

"It is the business of fiction to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind." (Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners).

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Not to be a pedant, but generally the term "long take" is used to describe a long duration between cuts (usually anything more than 30 sec) rather than a "long shot" since that is easily confused with the distance of the camera from the subject ("long shot," "medium shot," "close-up," etc.).

 

While there is a question about the ontology of the shot in making the distinction between a take that was actually filmed in one go on celluloid and one that is stitched together in post-production, I'm not sure that they should have different names. This is especially true since the nature of how a shot is composed, edited, etc. is not immediately clear from what we're watching. And what do we do with films like RUSSIAN ARK where the entire film is one take, but this is made possible by shooting on digital?

 

Anyway, I should preface my earlier criticism of the trailer by saying that CHILDREN OF MEN was on my top ten list for the last decade, so I'm definitely curious about this one. I was just underwhelmed by the casting and music choices.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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Anders wrote:

: Not to be a pedant, but generally the term "long take" is used to describe a long duration between cuts (usually anything more than 30 sec) rather than a "long shot" since that is easily confused with the distance of the camera from the subject ("long shot," "medium shot," "close-up," etc.).

Ah, good point about the potential confusion re: "long shot".

Not sure about the "long take" business, though. We often hear of a filmmaker doing "multiple takes" of a shot, and to me the word "take" implies something that the filmmaker, well, *took* on the day of shooting. "Shots", on the other hand, are the building blocks of a film, and if shots are routinely *shorter* than the original takes (even if only to remove the clapboard bit at the beginning, etc.), I'm open to the possibility that shots could be *longer* than the original takes, too, by virtue of seamless editing.

: While there is a question about the ontology of the shot in making the distinction between a take that was actually filmed in one go on celluloid and one that is stitched together in post-production, I'm not sure that they should have different names. This is especially true since the nature of how a shot is composed, edited, etc. is not immediately clear from what we're watching. And what do we do with films like RUSSIAN ARK where the entire film is one take, but this is made possible by shooting on digital?

Well, if we allow for shots to become longer than takes by virtue of invisible editing, it does raise interesting questions about a film like Hitchcock's Rope, where he was forced to make each take ten minutes or less but he edited them all together while the camera was behind someone's back or something. Hitchcock didn't have the advantage of computer graphics, but he was basically treating the resulting film as one long take, the same way Cuaron has taken multiple takes and stitched them together into seemingly longer shots.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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In Children of Men, I didn't care that the "long takes" were actually several shots edited together. The scenes still had the illusion of "one take," and therefore had a totally different impact than a bunch of chaotic quick shots edited together.  I feel the same way about some of the shots from the trailers for Gravity.  Common sense tells me that it's probably technically impossible to have takes that long without some digital trickery involved. But they still look like long takes/single shots, and it works really well.

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And the reviews from Venice start rolling in:

 

The Telegraph gives it 5 stars.

 

 

Comparisons to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Ang Lee’s Life of Pi are inevitable and well-earned, but in fact, Gravity operates as a companion piece to Cuarón’s last film, Children of Men, which played at Venice seven years ago. In that film, humanity had suddenly lost the ability to reproduce, and the result was global meltdown. But here, Cuarón is telling a different but related story of terror and mortality and hope. With nothingness pressing in on all sides, in a place where the grip of someone else’s hand is all that keeps you from the void, life really does seem like a miracle.

 

The Guardian gives it 4 stars.

 

 

[Gravity] comes blowing in from the ether like some weightless black nightmare, hanging planet Earth at crazy angles behind the action. Like Tarkovsky's Solaris(later remade by Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh), the film thrums with an ongoing existential dread. And yet, tellingly, Cuaron's film contains a top-note of compassion that strays at times towards outright sentimentality.

 

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The Solaris comparisons are intriguing, if a bit confusing. Solaris is a very interior movie--almost all of it takes place inside a space station--while what I've seen from Gravity so far is exterior--in space. I wonder if they're talking about more of a thematic connection.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

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