gravity-posterI thought our time together was over. I warned you as often as I could, but lately things have been on a pretty even keel and I sensed you didn’t need me any more. Directors have moved onto new technology, found new ways to tantalize our senses, and every film I went to was like watching angels ice-skating or majestic condors gliding on air. I was going to slip quietly away into cyberspace; let the Barf Bags pile up on some server in the clouds, uncounted and unnecessary.

But then something happened; this movie started to get a lot of chatter about special effects and floating and space and bad things that can happen if you ever leave your basement and suddenly I realized: You DO need me! Someone has to warn the world about this film! Someone has to stand on the edge of the internet and shout into the void: this movie is going to make you barf!

Gravity has opened to fabulous reviews, academy award talk and lots of positive buzz. The film deserves the press it’s getting and it will probably garner lots of nominations. But this about more than just striking camera work and awesome special effects masterminded by director Alfonso Cuarón; this is about what is going to happen to your lower intestines. While the critics are tossing accolades, you are going to be tossing your cookies.

This movie is ninety minutes of spinning in space; spinning while things fly through the air and smash into stuff, spinning while floating weightlessly through corridors, spinning while tethered to other astronauts and spinning just for the sake of spinning. There is no fixed horizon to latch onto because they are in space, so you end up about as pale as Sandra Bullock does as she tries to hold it together in zero gravity. It’s actually a very clever way to really feel like you are part of the crew in peril, but if I had wanted to be an astronaut I wouldn’t have cut all those algebra classes in high school.

I have to admit that much of the spinning took place in my imagination because I had my eyes closed for a large part of the film, but between the 3D headache and the queasiness from the swirling, it was really the only way to survive to the end to see if Sandy and George made it out alive.

Sandy and George; they’re like old friends, aren’t they? They are so familiar to us as movie stars that in some ways it felt like they were miscast in the film. Sandra Bullock was quite good, and managed to get beyond her popular persona and meld with her character. But George Clooney was George Clooney; I never for one moment thought he was an astronaut. There were times you heard only his voice and it sounded like he was narrating a beer commercial. But I have to admit if I was stranded in space with only one voice to soothe me, his is probably the one I would want. And in return, I hope that he would hold my hair back after what his movie did to me.

Four BagsBarf Bag Rating: FOUR BAGS  This movie joins other four baggers in the Barf Bag Hall of Fame, nestled right between The Bourne Supremacy and Exit at the Gift Shop. As you can well imagine, the Barf Bag Hall of Fame does not smell very good.

Random thought: I’m sure the skimpy tank top and boy shorts that Sandra Bullock wears under her spacesuit are standard NASA issued gear. I would just like to know why we didn’t get to see George in the same outfit.

The Descendants

People tend to jump to conclusions about certain destinations. If I say Paris, your imagination has you heading straight to the top of the Eiffel Tower, possibly while holding a baguette. Mention New York City, and you immediately think Broadway and the fact that there is no way you are getting a ticket to The Book of Mormon for at least six more months. Plan a weekend in Minneapolis and you’re either going to the Mall of America or to hang out with Garrison Keillor. Not sure which one of those is worse. Continue reading

Tower Heist

You really can’t have too many movies that take place in towers. Hollywood has always enjoyed shooting in tall places; nothing like being trapped somewhere really high to ramp up the tension. So we get The Two Towers, The Dark Tower (in production) and the most famous of all disaster movies, The Towering Inferno. This last movie was even paid homage to in the original Fame, as one fearless student reenacted the OJ Simpson elevator scene as an audition piece to get into the High School of Performing Arts. (“I’m waiting for the elevator. I’m still waiting for the elevator.”) That was meta before meta was even invented! Continue reading

The Ides of March

Timing, in film as well as comedy and birth control, is everything. Large crowds of people (or “mobs” as Eric Cantor likes to call them) have been compelled to gather and protest the fact that the country is starting to feel like the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, but not the heartwarming part when George Bailey runs through the snow shouting “Merry Christmas, you old Savings and Loan!”, but the part before that when he realizes that Bedford Falls has become Potterville. Are we witnessing the beginning of a new political movement, or is it simply that all those unemployed people don’t have anything better to do? Continue reading