Gravity (2013)

Gravity (2013)

A medical engineer, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), is on her first space mission with experienced astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) on his last flight before retirement. When a Russian satellite is destroyed, the debris field hurls across the atmosphere with deadly speed, destroying everything in its path. Kowalsky and Stone must find a way to survive in order to make it back to Earth in one piece.

The only thing I had read previously about this film were notable astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson’s tweets about the movie. He said that he enjoyed the movie very much but he was tweeting about the scientific inaccuracies, which made me second-guess going to see it. I’m glad I did give in and go see it, however.

First off, the film looks and sounds (when there is sound) amazing. I didn’t see it in IMAX but I now want to after seeing the regular film. There were only a couple of spots where the CGI didn’t keep the realistic quality and it bumped me out of make-believe-land but overall, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you whether some of it was actual space footage or if it was CGI.

There were only a couple of annoyances, mostly having to do with Bullock’s character (not her acting, her character). Clooney was decent, but aside from those two there weren’t really many other actors aside from Ed Harris and Clooney didn’t really act too differently in this film from any of his other films.

Gravity had me on the edge of my seat a few times in exasperation and stress, so I take that as a sign of a good film if it can get me that worked up.

Go see this, preferably in IMAX and preferably in the dark. By yourself.

JOE Review: ★★★★

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Hell On Wheels: Season 1 (2011)

Hell On Wheels: Season 1 (2011)

Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) is a former Confederate soldier in a country that’s healing after the American Civil War and the assassination of president Abraham Lincoln – and he’s searching for his wife’s killers, most of whom were Union soldiers during the war. Leaving a bunch of corpses in his wake, Cullen finds himself one of the individuals living in Hell On Wheels – the temporary, mobile town following the progress of the Transcontinental Railroad as it spreads west.

When I first saw the description of this show on Netflix, I thought it might be some sort of cheesy programming reserved for late nights at home. I was wrong on that count.

Hell On Wheels, at least the first season, was pretty enjoyable overall. The main character, Cullen, shrugs off traditional southern “Rebel” stereotypes and in a way flips it so that the Union has a few bad eggs in it, too. Cullen has his low points but overall seems to use his own code of honor.

One thing I have to say is that for a man searching for his wife’s killers, he seems to take a while to really get into the hunt. We have a few instances early on in the season where he really digs in but then it almost seems as if he forgets his mission while he’s moving on down the rails.

Since Deadwood hasn’t been on the air, I’ve been looking for similar programming and while this show isn’t as great as Deadwood, it has some of the same, dusty, late 1800’s flavoring that made Deadwood so cool. I’ll definitely be checking out the second season. Hell On Wheels, like many of its characters, is likable even if it has some flaws.

JOE Rating: ★★★★