Posts Tagged ‘alfonso cuaron’

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Roma (2018)

February 18, 2019

Roma (2018)
Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Y Tu Mama Tambien)
Starring: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira

Anticipation Level: Modest

How Was It? Roma is a heavy favorite to win Best Picture this Sunday. As you can see from my level of anticipation, despite all the hype around Roma, I just wasn’t all that excited for it. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe because no one I know personally has told me it was great. Alfonso Cuaron is one of my favorite directors and every movie he’s made since Y Tu Mama Tambien in 2001 has cracked my top 10 for the year.

I very much wanted to be blown away. I wasn’t. Well, I sort of was. A lot of the praise heaped on Roma is due to writer/director/cinematographer Alfonso Cuaron’s ridiculous visual presentation. It is a truly beautiful film – shot in black and white, yet full of vibrant life. Visually, Roma deserves all the adoration it has received. I just wasn’t emotionally invested in the story. From my understanding, Roma is largely inspired by Cuaron’s own childhood and the main maid/nanny character of Cleo is based on his family’s own maid/nanny from when he was growing up. In fact, I just read that 90% of the scenes in the movie are taken from Cuaron’s own memories. That actually makes this movie substantially cooler. Still, on my first viewing, I found the pace of Roma to be a bit of a drag and the most powerful scenes in the film didn’t affect me as much as I suspect they were supposed to. Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira both got Oscar noms for their acting in this movie and while I can see how Aparicio got nominated, it’s not as clear why de Tavira did; I thought she was solid but nothing spectacular. Aparicio had zero acting experience prior to this movie and only auditioned for the role because she “had nothing better to do” and didn’t even know who Alfonso Cuaron is. The fact the she is now an Oscar-nominated actress is quite an amazing story.

Honestly, I think I owe Roma another watch, but after my first viewing, I felt underwhelmed. It is definitely a gorgeous and intimate film, but I’m sorry, it was a bit *gasp* boring. It is a must watch film because it’s probably going to win a lot of Oscars – including Best Picture – and the cinematography is top notch, but if you don’t care about the technical aspects of making films (I do) and simply want to be entertained, Roma will probably disappoint. I do think this is a film that could end up growing on me.

Replay Value: I’m willing to give it another chance and see if it impacts me more on a second viewing.

Sequel Potential: None.

Oscar Potential: Roma is nominated for ten Oscars and seems like the favorite to win Best Picture. Even more of a lock is Alfonso Cuaron for Best Director and Best Cinematography. Roma is also a lock to win Best Foreign Language Film. I mentioned the two actresses have nominations and Roma also has nods for Original Screenplay, Production Design, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. I would be pretty surprised if Roma doesn’t notch at least four Oscars on Sunday night.

Dina Meter: I wonder… I kind of feel like Dina would quit this film pretty early but there are some things I think she’d like.

6/10 (Recommended)

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Gravity (2013)

October 12, 2013

Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Children Of Men, Harry Potter & The Prison Of Azkaban, Y Tu Mama Tambien)

Astounding. Incredible. Those were my initial thoughts upon leaving the theater after watching Gravity, one of those groundbreaking films that will be mentioned for years to come as a visual effects pioneer. In fact, visually, Gravity just might be the most incredible accomplishment in cinematic history. It’s that good; and there’s never been anything like it. The film feels more like a 95 minute attraction you’d find at a high level amusement park. The only things missing are the seat belts and simulated movement. Otherwise, you might as well be in space with Ryan Stone, the rookie astronaut played by Sandra Bullock in the best performance I’ve ever seen from her. There are no moments in this film where you’re taken out of the experience. Everything is so wonderfully, beautifully, and accurately shot that you never question that these people are operating in zero gravity. Little touches like chess pieces and tear drops floating out of the screen towards you only add to the authentic, weightless movements of the human characters. The 3D seriously adds to the experience and I can’t imagine that seeing it without 3D is even remotely as satisfying.

The story here isn’t particularly profound. As one of my friends who walked out after an hour so eloquently put it: “one hour of running out of oxygen.” It really makes me wonder if we were watching the same movie. The visuals are so stunning, earth looks so magnificent in the background, and the film is so intense, that one hardly even notices how little plot there actually is here. And honestly, in a film like Gravity, it’s not that important. The overall themes of dealing with loss, lack of self worth, and so on, take a back seat to the real show: the terrifying experience of being lost in space with absolutely no human contact and no solid game plan for survival. Could you imagine being so utterly alone? In Gravity you barely have to. It looks so real and the experience is so personal, it might as well be your own.

Gravity should be showered with nominations come award season and should be a shoo in for most of the visual awards. Alfonso Cuaron has directed the closest thing to a masterpiece that I’ve seen in a long while. The amount of care put into the shooting of this film and the attention to detail is so tediously given, the final product is astonishing. A true feat. For a film that’s essentially about getting from point A to point B without dying, I’ve never felt so personally invested in reaching that final destination. An extremely impressive film and an absolute must see in 3D in the theaters.

Replay Value: The lack of replay value might keep Gravity from becoming a true classic, but with 3D televisions more and more common these days, maybe that’s not true.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: Gravity will be heavily nominated, probably in most categories, including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Director. I doubt the script will get a nomination and I don’t think George Clooney is deserving, but this film should be a cinch for the Cinematography, Visual Effects, and Film Editing statues.
Nudity: None.

Grade: 9.5/10 (Phenomenal/Instant Classic)