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October 11th, 2013

Movie Review - Gravity


Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen, Paul Sharma, Amy Warren, Basher Savage

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón Written by: Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón Script Collaborator: George Clooney Cinematography by: Emmanuel Lubezki Music by: Steven Price

Premise: Debris from an exploded satellite sets off an unexpected chain reaction which send hundreds of pieces of metal hurtling straight at American astronauts testing equipment in orbit . The ensuing accident places the survivors on a course to try to save themselves as their air supply and other resources dwindle quickly towards zero. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: George Clooney played Matt Kowalski, an astronaut on his last mission playing it easy and fun until things get ugly and then doing whatever it takes to try to bring those in his charge home again. Mr. Clooney nicely showed the audience Kowalski's fun and somber sides as the plot developed.

Sandra Bullock did a great job as Ryan Stone, scientist turned astronaut, running from the great sadness in her life. She carries the film along easily and it's all the little nuances she brings forth in her character as we go with her on this journey that makes everything feel real.

Great job too by the rest of the cast, though we never see them, only hear them. Yet they added a lot to the film, helping to 'sell' the setting and the other events going on.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The effects in this film were fantastic. And when coupled with the great skill of the cinematographer, it pushed the film to dizzying heights. "Gravity" must be seen in IMAX 3D to get the true grandeur of the work done for this film.

The models of the different spacecraft, both inside and out, were very well done. The floating bits of flame inside the International Space Station and their treatment of Stone's tears looked great. And wait until you see the giant speeding debris field!

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: The previews for this film clearly stated that the characters are about to have a very bad day. And they definitely have that. Slowly working up at the beginning, once the astronauts hear about the debris coming their way the plot moves fast and hardly slows down until the end. It's even split up into pieces, for faster processing, as those involved try to take it one goal at a time.

A lot of previously used plot bits are part of the script - the astronaut (cop) on his last mission before retirement, the deep emotional scar repressing the scientist from living a full life. But the execution is so good, you barely notice them.

The science looked to be pretty much on target, except for a couple of glaring spots. One of them is a rather significant scene, so the reworking of the effects of motion in space took a little bit away from the rather poignant moment. I really wish they could have figured a way to get the same result without having to cheat to get it. But if you can ignore than one spot, you won't have any troubles enjoying this one.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: While some of the stunt work was definitely CGI created, a lot of the 'gags' looked to be real. The bungee cord effect on the people in several scenes looked rather painful. The same can be said about their arrival at the ISS. A 'making of' featurette for the DVD would be of tremendous interest.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The visuals in this film were just "WOW". Earth is shown in all her glory passing below as a backdrop to the drama orbiting about her. The spanning views of the planet's surface during day and night as well as the super lovely sunrise will stick with me for a long time.

The point of view of the cameras changed a lot during the film, but it helped make the whole experience more immersive and personal. One nice composite shot creates a replica of an embryo in the womb.

Conclusion: "Gravity" is a must see film and in IMAX 3D if at all possible. The visuals alone are worth it. Yet the puzzle on how the heck Stone might come out of this alive definitely will keep you 'on the edge of your seats'.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Would Pay Full Price To Go See It Again!)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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