Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall Movie Update: Gravity

Well well I'm back once again with apologies and excuses to spare. No matter, the point is I'm here and I'm so excited to talk about my adventures at the cinema this week. Summer is fading fast and with it blockbusters and superheroes are hibernating for the time being. And while I have no problem devouring the recent trend of costumed heroes and cumberbatch, I enjoy a refreshing glass of class and prestige as much as the next guy. So as a our legends sneak away in the night, the celluloid gods begin to bless us with hope as cinematic brilliance dances across our multiplexes. What has excited me so much about diving back into the deep end and exploring all cinema has to offer well, nothing less than Cuaron's long in the making Gravity.

Cuaron doesn't care about act structure or complex plot mechanics, and in doing so he offers a seemingly simple story. Sandra Bullock is a new astronaut, debris comes and causes havoc, she loses her partner and she floats around trying to survive. That's it. It's a great deception, because once you start looking back at the film you start to see all the layers all the meaning and all the beauty of what he's showing you.

Let's get some simple stuff out of the way. As a straight forward movie, Bullock holds your attention the entire time. She is a broken soul and you feel every emotion with her as hope quickly faded away.For the whole time you are glued to the screen trying to figure out just how you escape an impossible situation. Clooney is fine, doing Clooney if he was an astronaut. And for me that's all I need. But this is Cuaron, the guys has things to say, about cinema and about life.

I could talk about this film for hours, but I'll spare you the dribble. So I'll just say that for me this film boiled down to "how do we live" and "why do we live." The films starts with title cards explains how life is impossible in space. Once the shit hits the fan, the whole movie becomes an exercise in survival against impossible odds. There are constant shots of Bullock silhouetted against space. They're gorgeous shots that show humanity flailing against the vastness that is space. And while most could read that these are showing just how small we are in this infinity that is the universe. I saw it much more as a representation of our struggle to belong. We see Bullock floating through space struggling to find something to hold on to and there are times where she almost disappears into space. And when clooney disappears we see, we are part of this huge universe. We are a piece of this enormous puzzle and while we are microscopic in scale, we are no less important. Because this universe is a collection of everything. It's scope and existence is nothing without all that constructs it. Even though it is "impossible" to live in space, humanity can push through and overcome these obstacles. We are a piece of the puzzle and with perseverance and motivation humanity is just as necessary as anything else in the cosmos.

The hard comes with why? Here Cuaron wears the theme a bit more on his sleeve. Bullock talks about what she's lost, and we see her struggle with being able to push on. But ultimately we see that life and existence is the most beautiful awe inspiring thing in the world. Earth is constantly peaking at us from the edge of the screen. And everything we see it we are looking at our world from a whole new perspective. It is some of the most amazing images of the earth and Clooney captures it best with a simple line about the Ganges. Looking at the earth from this perspective and you see just how amazing and beautiful existence is. Another standout scene is when Cuaron shows us a sunrise. We've all seen sunrises a million times on film, but Cuaron is showing us a sunrise in a way we've never seen before. In the middle of this horrible catastrophe we see the brilliance of a star passing by a planet and this act that we all have experienced over and over is shown to us once more like a new event worthy of pause.

I could just keep going and going, I haven't even begun to talk about the craft of the film. Let me just leave with this. Lubezki deserves the Oscar, if only for the second big set piece with a space station, his work is seamless and gorgeous and like the film shows us cinema in a new light. This is a movie that deserves multiple viewings on the largest screen you can find. This is a movie to share with loved ones and to discuss about for hours after. Cuaron has crafted a masterpiece and I couldn't be more excited. He is pushing the capabilities of cinema forward and doing a frakking amazing job. Go see this movie.Now.

Bence

One last thought - explosions without sound might be the coolest thing to experience
all year, that and space tears.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Get That Hitchin' Thumb Out, We are Going On A Birthday Adventure!

Today is the second of October and we here would like to celebrate the birthday of one of our own. Here is to you, Bence, you old so and so. How does it feel to be getting older? Well, put those sad and altogether depressing thoughts aside! Do I have a fantastic day planned for you!

After an pretty filling breakfast, all of us PORTEmaus gents will venture north to one of the wonders this world has to offer, The Grand Canyon! Let me tell you brother, you have not loved live until you have hawked a loogie over this side of that bad boy! It really puts things into perspective. It leaves you reflective nay contemplative.

So, get that rucksack packed because we are leaving straight away. Seriously, I am on my way, right now. Wait. The Grand Canyon is closed? Damn, shutdown!

Well, looks like the PORTEmaus jaunt is canceled... Happy birthday anyway. Lousy government shutdown ruins everything. At least we can look at pictures of the Grand Canyon on the National Parks website... What do you mean they closed the website down too!

Curses.

Seriously though, Happy Birthday!

-Manny

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Do you really need a Fall break that bad? The United States government shuts down.

(Grabs suspenders and pulls them forward) Now, I am not a big city politician (or a rural one for that matter) but I would like to think I can grasp the basic principles of American politics. After all, I did complete a Political Science from a prime party school (I do hope that you are picking up the sarcasm regarding my credentials). The base premise is this: We elect individuals to comprise and work together with the opposite political party to ensure that our best interests are represented. So, tell me how is a government shutdown in our best interests?

There is a steadfast refusal to comprise on the Affordable Care Act, which should not be discussed at this point as an issue as it was upheld by a controversial Supreme Court decision (Controversial in the sense that Conservatives felt it would be found to be unconstitutional). Honestly, I could give two shits about the Affordable Care Act as I already pay an obscene amount for insurance, what I do care about is the resistance to let it go. The Republicans have a hard on that makes it impossible to make good political decisions. Throw the Williamsburg Accord in the mix and comprise/ working together in American politics is dead. Say goodbye to EVERYONE working to keep America functioning as it should because of ONE piece of legislation.

So, the government shuts down.