Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ride Astronaut Ride

I spent a hot, sunny, dry morning watching Gravity and doing things around the apartment. This intense survival tale takes us into space, where Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and her chatty colleague Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are doing routine repairs on a space station. Suddenly, the space station is destroyed by a debris shower, their third colleague is killed, and Stone finds herself hurling miles out into space alone. Though she makes it to a Russian space station, it, too, is ultimately damaged. Soon, Ryan finds herself having to figure out how to navigate a damaged Chinese shuttle back to Earth when she doesn't read Chinese and can't figure out what the person on the other end of the radio is saying.

Definitely not your typical science fiction. Though some of the science has been discredited, it's still a fairly realistic depiction of what can happen up there in the real "final frontier." Bullock and Clooney do wonders with little dialogue; Bullock was Oscar-nominated. Director Alfonso Cuaron deservedly won. The backdrops are amazing; space never felt so stunning, so vast, so cold. If you enjoy Bullock or Clooney, thrillers, survival stories, or prefer your science fiction with more fact than fiction, this movie was one of 2013's biggest critical and financial hits and gets a hearty recommendation from me as well.

Work wasn't anywhere near as interesting. It was pretty much the same deal as yesterday - on and off steady, but mainly dead. There wasn't even much candy to shelve. I spent a lot of time standing around. By the end of rush hour, it slowed down enough for me to head out with no relief and no problems.

When I got home, I switched to the campier action musical The Pirate Movie. Mabel (Kristy MacNichol) is a nerdy tomboy who falls for a boy (Christopher Atkins) at a pirate festival. She tries to go after him after her friends take off with him, but she falls off the skiff she rented. Washed onshore, she dreams that she's Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, her sweetheart is the reluctant pirate Fredrick, and other people she saw at the festival are pirates, the Pirate King (Ted Hamilton), the Major General, and her sisters. Mabel learns a lesson in standing up for herself when the pirates fight the girls into a corner, and only Mabel can orchestrate the happy ending of her dreams.

I've always liked this one, but I grew up on it. It's like a cross between Pirates of the Caribbean and Hairspray by way of half of Mel Brooks' movies. It does, however, have a rare action heroine in feisty Mabel and some rousing action, especially towards the middle and end. Fun for fans of campy musicals, action movies with strong female characters, or pirate tales.

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