Movie Review: “Gravity”

Starring
Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Director
Alfonso Cuarón

There are so many appropriate words to describe “Gravity,” yet none of them seem adequate. To call it intense – and boy, is it intense – puts it in the same company as movies about serial killers and runaway buses. To call it bittersweet and uplifting brings to mind “Steel Magnolias.” (It’s nothing like “Steel Magnolias.”) It’s also mind-bogglingly gorgeous, and yet, it’s more than that as well. So forget those words, and remember this one: the movie is magical. It’s the kind of movie that will inspire a generation of kids to grab cameras and let their imaginations run wild, the proverbial face that launches a thousand ships. At the very least, it will raise the profile of director Alfonso Cuarón (“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”) in a way that his previous film, 2006’s brilliant and criminally overlooked “Children of Men,” should have.

Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is on her first space mission. Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) is on his last. Stone and Kowalsky are on a spacewalk, the former trying to fix a piece of equipment she helped design, the latter simply trying to set the record for longest spacewalk. Mission Control informs them of debris from a damaged satellite headed their way and orders them to get in the ship. The debris arrives too soon, however, and shreds their space shuttle beyond repair. Ryan and Matt are the sole survivors of the assault, adrift in space, and have limited amounts of oxygen and time to find a nearby, functional spacecraft before the debris makes its way around the earth and bombards them again.

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Movie Review: “The Heat”

Starring
Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, Michael McDonald
Director
Paul Feig

With the exception of the 1988 comedy “Feds” (and to a certain degree, the “Charlie’s Angels” films), the buddy cop movie has been an exclusively male-dominated genre. It’s only a matter of time before Hollywood finally gets its act together and delivers a great female-centric action comedy, but “The Heat” is not that film. Though fans of Paul Feig’s “Bridesmaids” will likely enjoy his latest R-rated romp with Melissa McCarthy, anyone that wasn’t already sick and tired of the actress definitely will be after sitting through two hours of her annoyingly boorish and over-the-top brand of humor. “Identity Thief” should have been the final nail in the coffin of America’s love affair with McCarthy, but if her irritating performance in “The Heat” doesn’t put an end to that reign, then the moviegoing public deserves more lowbrow comedies just like it.

Sandra Bullock stars as FBI agent Sarah Ashburn, an arrogant overachiever who’s up for a big promotion in her department. But while she’s the perfect candidate on paper, Sarah still hasn’t earned the respect of her peers, whom she frequently humiliates during busts. To prove that she’s a team player and the right person for the job, Sarah’s boss (Demian Bichir) sends her to Boston, where she must partner up with local detective Shannon Mullins (McCarthy) to bring down a ruthless drug lord. Unfortunately, no one actually knows what the guy looks like, but Sarah has much bigger problems in the form of the uncouth Mullins, whose sloppy demeanor and unconventional methods clash with her straight-laced, by-the-books personality.

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