Tag Archives: auteur

DEFYING ‘GRAVITY’ {and our expectations . . .}

Being an astronaut is not as cool as I thought - Gravity (2013)

Alfonso Cuarón is without doubt one of our generations most ambitious and talented directors, whose latest film ‘Gravity’ has solidified him as a premiere auteur of the cinema, that is if his last film “Children of Men” didn’t already have you convinced.

The signs were there from the start.

Cuaron - A little princess - 1994

A Mexican director, Cuarón made his English debut in 1995 with a retelling of the Edwardian classic, “A Little Princess” which reinvigorated new life into the tale of a young girl left at the mercy of a miserable, unforgiving, and demanding headmistress after the sudden death of her father. He turned what could have been a drab child’s tale into an intoxicating rich and exotic affair of the heart and imagination.
Vintage Style- Great Expectations - Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow - 1998

Vintage Men Style- Ethan Hawke in Great Expectations - 1998- The Eye of Faith

He followed this up with another adaptation of a classic, “Great Expectations” which starred Ethan Hawke, and featured an immaculate performance by Anne Bancroft, as well as Gwyneth Paltrow at the height of her 90s babe-ness. The film took the Dickensian tale of love lost and greed into a contemporary tale with equal visual splendor.

Sandra Bullock is Scared- Gravity film (2013)
His latest film “Gravity”, however, is a film larger in scope than any of his previous (including “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of the Azkaban”), whilst also being perhaps the most simple in its premise.
Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a first time astronaut sent by NASA to install new technologies onto the Hubble Space Telescope before the mission is rudely interrupted by a massive debris storm that wipes out not only her ride home, but what seems to be our entire world built in space. It’s a nail-biter of a film that follows her minute by minute as she quickly comes to grips with her will to survive.
With a little encouragement from a rowdy veteran astronaut (played by George Clooney) she is able to get her wits about her, even as she is hurled through space time and time again.

Gravity trailer -- Pictured: Sandra Bullock(Screengrab)
Bullock plays Dr. Stone with a brilliance never before captured from the Hollywood icon even after winning her Best Actress Oscar for 2009’s The Blind Side. Bullock is able to capture the raw emotion of a woman catapulted into the abyss. She experiences it all: fear, sadness, overwhelming happiness, excitement, delirium, panic, loss, and joy. It’s a spectrum of emotion that very few actresses get to take on, and in turn, can pull of with half as much success.
And damn does she look good. At 49, her body is as fit and toned as ever while her chiseled face is beautifully defined by the stark illumination of space giving us a unique perspective on the star we rarely get to see (she also really suits that short hair).

GRAVITY
What is most exciting about “Gravity” is that while it could easily have been a different movie, Cuarón ensures the universality of its themes, and exhibits an unnerving sensibility to let us wait, and sit, and ponder the moment. After a calamity of events, Bullock makes it into the International Space Station and for a good minute we watch as she retreats into her body like a fetus and floats in space like a unborn baby in a womb. It’s moments like this that bring brilliance to what is undoubtedly Cuarón’s masterpiece.
And while there are plenty of space movies, and good ones at that, this one needs to top the list of those released in the past decade, and comes a close second to the epitome of all movies in space- Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”, which in itself is a mighty amazing feat.

gravity-movie-final-trailer-will

Very rarely do films set in space capture the scope of themes and the realism needed to convey the heaviness of life in space. Its no joke, and it’s done without the presence of creepy extra terrestrials or intimidating other-world space craft. When it comes down to it, the most dangerous thing Ryan Stone faces is the presence of an almost non-presence- that of “Gravity” an invisible force that keeps us planted on the ground, and without can turn a single bolt into a deadly weapon that can obliterate even the most expensive and sophisticated technology we have under our belt.

Gravity - Sandra Bullock - Amazing
This film makes you think, and ultimately that’s what movie-going is about. We enjoyed this film thoroughly, and expect to see this film as a strong contender at next year’s Academy Awards ceremony. In fact, I can smell tough competition already between Bullock and Blanchett for the coveted Best Actress win. Can Bullock pull a second win? She sure as hell deserves it. Also expect Cuarón in contention for Director, and his long-time cinematographer Emmanuelle Lubezki (“A Little Princess”, “Sleepy Hollow“, “Children of Men”, “The Tree of Life“) for his very first win.

A rare gem that will go unmatched for decades to come. See this film!!

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Hamming It Up With Hitchcock! Hopkins Plays the Hitch in new film “Hitchcock”

So the trailer is out for Fox Searchlight‘s latest cinematic craving “Hitchcock“; a biopic starring Anthony Hopkins as the famed director during his trials and tribulations during the makings of his iconic film, “Psycho“.

The film features a roster of talent that include Jessica Biel as actress Vera Miles, Scarlett Johansson as the lead with the bad deed, Janet Leigh, Toni Collette as dedicated production assistant Peggy Robertson, and Helen Mirren as his loving and loyal partner-in-crime Alma Reville.

Set for release on November 23, expect the master of suspense to inspire and influence us all once again! From the looks of the trailer, this Hitchcock shows great panache when it comes to business, a savvy for story telling, and a committed loving and working relationship with his wife, Alma.


“Suspense is like a woman. The more room she leaves to the imagination, the greater the emotion and the expectation. The audience is much more frightened by what it imagines than by what it actually sees. There’s nothing terrifying about an explosion, only the expectation of it.”

-Alfred Hitchcock to Bernard Parkin

It was around the time of “Psycho“‘s release that the British born director began garnering notice for his unique artistic contribution to popular culture and the cinema. The french in particular took a special admiration for the director, who they formidably christened a grand auteur of the medium – a worthy honor (they don’t take that term lightly, en France).

Indeed, his films inhabit a very special singular world, one which can only be simplified to a single term: Hitchcock.

The settings of his stories become a collage of reality, dreaming, and desire. The inhabitants are as stylized and edited as the story lines – always modern and even hip; the heroes are all dashing, the man Hitchcock idolized for himself, and the heroines typically blonde with assets.

They all play pawns in a wicked game of cat and mouse meticulously planned and drafted by Hitchcock and his wife, Alma, script supervisor and Hitchcock’s private second set of eyes (it was her who noticed Janet Leigh swallowing after her death scene which would later have to be altered from the negative).

When actors asked their motivation for a scene, he simply stated “Your salary”. If they couldn’t push to the emotional degree he needed for the scene, he said “Fake it”. And when asked if he felt actors were cattle, he quickly corrected that he only felt they should be “treated” as such.

While Hitchcock never won a coveted Best Director statuette at the Academy Awards, he did receive the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy for his contributions to the industry.

It was an impressive career lasting from the early 1920s up to his last film in 1976, “Family Plot“.

There’s no denying the influence the man has had on popular culture. Many suggest there wouldn’t have been a James Bond if it weren’t for “North by Northwest” kicking off the action genre the way he it did. Others cite Hitchcock for his innovation in the medium, always adapting and quickly changing with the times.

Designers such as Alexander McQueen have cited Hitchcock’s influence, and with “Hitchcock” kick starting you can expect to see more and more of the master’s presence come into play.  Best thing is, both men and women can easily cite these films for alluring, modern, and sophisticated looks that will have everyone saying “WHOA”.

And for as dark or complex his story lines took him, he was always able to hold on to his enviable sense of humor. From his various walk-on parts in every film, to the character he invented of himself – Hitchcock was a wildly entertaining individual drenched in that very dry, very British sense of humor.

Hopefully “Hitchcock” hits the nail on the head with his one, but with such a talented cast and crew, and the impeccably talented Sir Anthony Hopkins at the wheel, there’s no doubt in my mind this film will continue to pave the legacy that we can simply sum up as his very own.

We picked out some of our favorite photos of the Hitch hamming it up for the camera to get those creative juices flowing, and to show the softer, sillier side of this irreverent genius.

For more Hitchcock style, we recommend “Hitchcock Style” by Jean-Pierre Dufreigne. A fantastically illustrated book from Assouline, full of insight into the sum of the parts that make for the iconic Hitchcock look. Check it out!

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Until next time,

{theEye}

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<<Check out the British Film Institute’s Ode to Hitchcock>>

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Johan Renck Brings 1960s French Sci-Fi Cool to Latest Ad for Perrier

Something about this new ad for Perrier really brings me back in time. The french brand has impressed us before with a series of videos featuring legendary style icon Dita Von Teese taking us on a glamorously risque tour of her body and the elusively decadent Perrier Mansion.

Entitled “The Drop“, this latest film continues on the blazing train of creative ingenuity, with this brilliant bend of 1960s French Sci-Fi aesthetic glory. The auteur helming the creative vision is Johan Renck, a director of Breaking Bad, and Walking Dead.

We love the gold space suit and artful editing – it’s just a scorching hot day on Earth, and and only one woman who can cool us down…We also love the India Inspiration!

The visuals immediately reminded us of Roman Copolla‘s 2001 film “CQ” that featured supermodel Angela Lindvall as Dragonfly in a fake French 1960s Sci-Fi film. The film was hardly a blimp on the radar, which is a shame, because it features some great design, a wicked soundtrack, and really fun and playful acting (especially Lindvall).

What’s better than bringing the idea of a low-budget French Sci-Fi film in 1969 Paris to life??! Can’t think of anything else at the moment…

Perrier‘s latest campaign,”The Drop“, takes the 1960s sci-fi aesthetic to a whole new level, reinventing it for 2012, but staying clearly reminiscent. With an artist like Renck involved, it’s hard to go wrong. But it really is an artful eye that makes this such a captivating and clever little film.

Until next time,

{the Eye}

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