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October 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Critics are falling all over themselves in an effort to find the most hyperbolic kudos to include in their reviews of Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. There are a lot of “most”s in them. Like Richard Roeper’s in the Chicago Sun-times who writes that the film is “one of the most stunning visual treats of the year and one of the most unforgettable thrill rides in recent memory.” Todd McCarthy in the Hollywood Reporter describes it as “the most realistic and beautifully choreographed film ever set in space.” And Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times observes that while Avatar “opened the book on modern artistic use of 3D,” director Alfonso Cuarón presents “the most accomplished, persuasive use of that technology we’ve seen from then until now.” But several critics go well beyond the hyperbole. Consider Joe Morgenstern’s words in the Wall Street Journal: “In the immediate future, Gravity is certain to find appreciative audiences all over the world; it speaks the language of big-screen action with surpassing eloquence, and comes to a climax as thrilling as any movie lover could wish for,” he writes, “No one can predict what impact it will have on the movies’ future, but consider what the film already represents — the conjunction, within the studio system, of a singular cinema artist and a full array of Hollywood’s most advanced filmmaking tools.” A few critics express minor qualms about the movie. A.O. Scott in the New York Times tempers his praise with this admission: “I will confess that the first time I saw Gravity, I found its talkiness annoying. … Doesn’t [Sandra Bullock’s character] say her favorite thing about space is the silence? But a second viewing changed my mind a bit. It’s not that the dialogue improved — it will not be anyone’s favorite part of the movie — but rather that its relation to that silence became clearer.” And Rex Reed in the New York Observer, while calling the film “one helluva ride,” also concludes that the movie is neither brilliant, visionary, or groundbreaking but rather “nothing more than a classy work of 3-D entertainment and, since everything moves in slow motion, not a very lively one at that.”