8:00 PM, 22nd November, 2013
Although this film gained significant attention with its spectacular trailer, it was something of an opaque enigma. While it lets you become intimately familiar with every little scintillating fragment of shuttle debris, you didn’t get much of an insight into the plot. However, it’s really pretty much right up there before your eyes: a group of astronauts try to return to Earth after their shuttle from The International Space Station is destroyed by space junk. Sure, it’s slightly anachronistic, given that the Space Shuttle is no more, but look at that view!
Sandra Bullock stars as Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first mission. George Clooney plays retiring veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Mike Wazowski?), on his last mission commanding the shuttle home from the ISS. With no shuttle, no hope of rescue and no communications with Earth, doom is inevitable… or is it?!
The film was directed, co-written and co-produced by Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), so the pacing and style are tight. Some of the visual effects and special effects crews worked on Gladiator and The Dark Knight, which really shows in the awe-inspiring vistas of earth and vividly complicated destruction scenes.
Although it could be said to be a reimagining of Apollo 13 (But… you know… less factually based), it’s a visually stunning movie and a gripping thriller.
9:46 PM, 22nd November, 2013
Riddick is back! The infamous criminal hero has been left for dead on a desolate desert planet. The only way off planet is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert nearby mercenaries, who rapidly descend in search of their priceless bounty. The first to arrive are a group of a new breed of ‘merc’, more lethal and violent than the rest, while the second ship is captained by a man hunting down Riddick for ‘personal reasons’. With time running out and a deadly storm on the horizon, Riddick must survive against all odds against hunters who don't plan to leave the planet without his head as their trophy. That is, until the local inhabitants become aware of their new prey…
Following 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick, itself a sequel to the cult sci-fi classic Pitch Black, this action sci-fi thriller goes back to its roots, taking the dangerous man with reflector eyes once again to a forsaken planet in an uneasy alliance with people who want him dead against creatures trying to kill everyone. It’s a winning story, even if this isn’t the first time we’ve seen it, made new by strong performances by some familiar faces. Vin Diesel is thoroughly entertaining, returning to the role that made him a star, while “Battlestar Galactica” fans will be thrilled to see Starbuck, I mean Katee Sackhoff, as tough-but-vulnerable mercenary Dahl. This is a really fun film with an interesting twist on the original formula. Disengage your brain and enjoy the ride.