The Experience of ‘Gravity’: My Spoiler-Free Review


gravity movie reviewJust. Wow.

Add a huge exhale of bated breath, and that’s pretty much the feeling I walked out with after watching Alfonso Cuarón’s sci-fi and hugely action-packed ‘Gravity’ starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. If you’re looking for a movie to scare your pants off, leave you in dumbfounded awe and maybe even make you shed a tear, this one will do it. Reviews of of this blockbuster can be found abound, so I’ll spare you the intelligent breakdown of why and why not everyone succeeded to deliver a great movie and just tell you my thoughts walking in, watching and walking out. No spoilers, promise.

My Expectations of ‘Gravity’

When I first saw the trailer for ‘Gravity’ a couple of months ago, I was skeptical of how good the movie was going to be. The entire trailer was action-packed, and there didn’t seem to be any build-up to the plot. It was made pretty clear early on that the main characters suffer some catastrophic event in space that leaves their lives in peril — but that was pretty much it. No back story, no ambiguous reference to the outcome, just — boom — the thick of the plot. The grave state of things actually seemed a bit melodramatic and cheesy at first. But what did pique my interest were the names behind the movie. With only two main actors, and they being Sandra Bullock and George Clooney — two people who are synonymous with acclaimed performances in serious roles — I was definitely interested. They wouldn’t just sign on for any old cheesy sci-fi flick. And then another name grabbed my attention: Alfonso Cuarón.

Now, I’m not going to lie — the first thing I thought when I saw his name was ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’, but let’s not forget that this was a pretty big hit. My interest rose even more. This was indeed a really unexpected mix of people behind a movie that could totally be super sensational movie about getting lost in space. But you had me at wondering, ‘Gravity’, you had me wondering!

The Experience of Watching ‘Gravity’

After hearing pretty good reviews about the movie and reading the reports of its opening success at the box office, I thought I’d finally go see what the fuss was all about. And if I was going to see an sci-fi movie taking place in space, I was going to do it right and watch it in IMAX 3D.

Best. Decision. Ever.

It made all the difference to watch something so heavily packed with special effects, beautiful cinematography and action sequences on a huge screen and in 3D. Watching ‘Gravity’ like this was truly an experience right off the bat. Being in space with Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kalowsky (George Clooney) was more like actually being in space with them — or as close as you could be, anyway. For a space nerd like me, it was hauntingly beautiful and a little frightening at the same time. The action sequences are just so larger than life with the surround sound and floor-to-ceiling IMAX screen that I don’t think watching the movie any other way is even doing it justice.

What you should know is that if you’re faint of heart, this really might not be the movie for you (especially not in IMAX 3D). The reason the trailer jumps straight into the plot is that the movie does too. There’s not a lot of guesswork here as to what the movie is about — pretty much from the get-go you know that shit just hit the fan in space. I was on the edge of my seat for almost the entirety of the 90 minutes with bated breath just waiting for the next succession of catastrophic events — and they are all pretty intense.

Also, Cuarón seemed to have really wanted you to “experience” this movie whether you watched it in IMAX 3D or at home on DVD because when I say you’re in space, I mean you are in space. Don’t expect the camera angles to adjust for your viewing pleasure when the characters are spinning around in weightlessness and doing things upside down and all topsy-turvy due to the lack of gravity. Your tolerance for motion sickness might also be something you should definitely take into consideration before buying a ticket.

Walking Out of ‘Gravity’

When I left the movie, I honestly felt like I had spent 90 minutes in another world. The entire movie takes place in space, no flashbacks to their lives before the mission, nothing. It was honestly the most overwhelming and unexpected feeling to be a little disoriented standing up and walking out with — well — gravity. It sounds bizarre, but try being completely lost in space with no one else for hours (like Bullock and Clooney pretty much are), and having the lights turn on to a theater full of people will feel a little strange to you too.

If you’re hoping for a more well-developed story plot, you may be disappointed. This movie is what it looks like: an action-packed, sci-fi thriller. Not to say that there isn’t a secondary story, but it’s pretty much about surviving in weightless space. You will walk out with an immense appreciation for the special effects teams and Cuarón’s imaginative storytelling though, not to mention a mix of awe and deathly fear of space beyond Earth’s pretty blue skies. If there’s ever been a time when I felt completely at a loss for words for the mystery and magic that is the universe beyond our atmosphere, it was after watching ‘Gravity’. If you’ve ever even gandered a speculation as to what it would be like to really be “lost in space,” this movie will give you a pretty hair-raising scenario.

All in all, I really liked ‘Gravity’. I can’t say enough that it was definitely something you have to experience to really enjoy, and I highly recommend watching it in IMAX 3D if you have the option to really do the movie justice. Sandra Bullock’s performance is one for the books, and George Clooney does what he does the best — plays a good role and makes you fall in love with him. Definitely a movie worth spending a few extra bucks on to watch it right!

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Love You Like a Love Song: 8 of the Most Romantic Ballads Ever


Cover of "Wicked Game"

If there was something I definitely could not live without, it would be music (also, lotion — really neurotic about this, but I’ll save it for another post…) — it keeps me going for almost every minute of everyday: getting ready in the mornings, on my way to work, at work, shopping, on the way home from work — and even as I write this post. Music is the spark that keeps my embers burning. For me, it’s more than a distraction from the incessant buzz of the outside world; its words, a hypnotic beat — a mantra, even, (if it’s that type of day) pulsating through my body, creating an unbroken connection between the music and me. The song doesn’t have to be deep for the connection to happen, but this is what music is for me.

Given that deep down I’m just a hopeless romantic like any starry-eyed girl out there, there are a handful of love songs that I’ve come to really love over the years. You know, the type of songs that when you hear, you can’t help but just melt a little because they make your heart flutter a bit?

I should warn you, they’re not all happy love songs — but no less, they’re pretty romantic — I promise! Here are my picks for the most heart-clenching, romantic love songs:

1. “Push” — Sarah McLachlan

Okay, I know Sarah McLachlan gets a lot of bad rep for being the woman who makes people think of homeless and sick animals, but forget (the also beautiful song) “Angel” if you can for a moment, and listen to this song. It’s probably my favorite on the list, and the lyrics paired with Sarah McLachlan’s soulful vocals makes for a simply beautiful ballad that couldn’t be more romantic — and happy, for that matter, aka completely opposite of “Angel.”

2. “Back at One” — Brian McKnight

Oh, whatever happened to men like Brian McKnight? This guy was a staple in the 90’s and early 2000’s, and his smooth voice and sweet lyrics make me melt every time. (I’m a sap — told you.) Plus, who can resist a man playing the piano? I’d have to argue that R&B music of this era was the best, and Brian McKnight was in the throne, leading the realm with this sweet melody…

3. “Wicked Game” — Chris Isaak

I’d probably seen the episode of Friends when Ross and Rachel have their first date and get frisky in the planetarium about a million time before I finally got hold of this song. (Yes, that’s where you’ve heard it.) More than this song is romantic, it’s incredibly sensual — can you honestly resist that voice?! But once you listen to the song, you’ll be hooked to the music, lyrics — everything! It’s a one for the books, I promise. This is a song that rarely, if ever, gets skipped on my iPod/iTunes when it’s on shuffle.

4.  “Forever and For Always” — Shania Twain

There’s got to be something said about a country gal singin’ a love song — there’s nothing like it (unless you’re a country fella). Shania Twain is not only beautiful, but her music is timeless country-pop music, and just like this song — it always makes you feel good — and that impresses me much!

5. “Broken” — Lifehouse

Ah, here is one of those sad love songs I was talking about, but I couldn’t resist because it’s a great song, and the lead singer’s voice is irresistible. The song is relatable to a lot of people in one way or another, and you don’t have to be in a million pieces to think it’s a great tune!

6. “Halo” — Beyonce´

You didn’t honestly expect a list of the most romantic love songs and this song not be on there, right? Beyonce´ singing OneRepublic front man Ryan Tedder’s lyrics would have made for one helluva amazing love song by itself, but the music production behind this composition was also ingenious. Who expected the piano, drums and synths combo? The song was a little over-played for a while, but you have to admit — it is one. great. love song.

7. “A Thousand Years” — Christina Perri

Yes, it was Edward and Bella’s wedding song, but I promise that had nothing to do with its place on the list. I don’t even remember the song in the movie (yes, I’ve read and watched all the books/movie — guilty, as charged!), and heard this beautiful ballad for the first time when Christina Perri performed it live on Ellen. Forget the Twilight mumbo-jumbo, and take a chance — her voice, the lyrics, the piano — it’s all very sweet!

8. “Ancient Love” — Anoushka Sharma

To round out the list, I picked a song most of you have probably have never heard of and by an artist that is a favorite of mine. This one also has no words — surprise! There is something very sensual and romantic about the snaky flutes, slow sitar picks and tabla beats that I absolutely love about this piece. If you’ve never heard of Anoushka Sharma’s music, today might be the day. Maybe you’ve heard of her famous family: dad and famous Indian classical musician Ravi Shankar, or her well-known half-sister and blues singer Norah Jones?

What did you think of my picks? Leave me a comment and let me know, and tell me what your favorite love songs are!

Jay Sean & Joe Jonas Upcoming Tour


Hey you crazy cats,  those dreams of joining a British-Indian bad boy and approximately 1/3 of the Jonas clan weren’t farfetched at all. Two men who fit this bizarre criteria almost exactly (imagine that) have announced plans to launch a nationwide tour this fall.

Jay Sean, best known for radio hits as “Down” and “Do You Remember?” and Joe Jonas of the tween heartthrob boy band, The Jonas Brothers, announced to EW.com that they would be performing together in 19 cities beginning Sept. 6. First stop: House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jonas will be performing music off of his debut album, FastLife, which hits stores Oct. 11, while Jay belts out some new tunes from his fourth album, Freeze Time.

Tickets go on sale August 19 and can be purchased on both artists’ websites and TicketMaster.com.

Tour Dates & Cities

6-Sep Boston, MA // House Of Blues

7-Sep Philadelphia, PA // Theatre of Living Arts

10-Sep Toronto, ON // The Sound Academy

11-Sep Cleveland, OH // House of Blues

12-Sep Chicago, IL // House Of Blues

15-Sep Minneapolis, MN // First Avenue

17-Sep Denver, CO // Fillmore

19-Sep San Francisco, CA // Warfield

20-Sep Los Angeles, CA // The Wiltern

26-Sep Houston, TX // House Of Blues

28-Sep Austin, TX // ACL Live

29-Sep Dallas, TX // House Of Blues

1-Oct Tampa, FL // TBD

2-Oct Lake Buena Vista, FL // House Of Blues

3-Oct Atlanta, GA // Tabernacle

5-Oct Silver Spring, MD (DC) // Fillmore Silver Spring

6-Oct New York, NY // Best Buy Theater

 

Phones or Sex? That is No Question.


Do you ever sit around and wonder if you could a use a hot, steamy roll-around in bed, or simply an hour playing…with your phone?

Maybe the thought has never occurred you out of the blue, but if forced to choose, which guilty pleasure would come out on top: that electronic toy (no, not that toy..) that keeps you connected to the world, or a good heave-ho in the sack?

Many Americans were asked just this, and check out wat they picked! What would you say?

Worst Commercial Ever: 2011 Education Connection TV Ad


It’s unfortunate when risky ventures go southward, but understandably this is bound to happen sometimes. What is difficult to understand is when people venture into an area in which they should’ve known  was just NOT their place to be. Now, if you’ve got a big name, a fabulous stylist and brilliant designers, putting out your own fashion line is leaping onto a cushion: it’s only slight risky, and you’ll probably be just fine.

But when actors attempt music careers or vice versa, it’s like grabbing for the other swing during a trapeze act: if you don’t catch it, you’ll still land on the safety net, but everyone will remember your pathetic, little fall.  So, there is definitely an amount of due commendation for the risk takers in the world, who are simply chasing after a dream. But at the same time, you can’t help but wonder for some — what were they thinking?!

Recently, I’ve had the misfortune of  (repeatedly) catching an awful commercial on TV that simply makes me cringe. The ad is for the company EducationConnection.com, a resource for those looking to be matched with an online college meeting their needs. Let’s take a look back where the company should’ve stopped while they were ahe — um..while they stagnant and standing.

Originally, the brand attempted to attract youth with a teeny-bopper actress dressed in her oh-so-cute pajamas and fuzzy slippers exclaiming the convenience of attending college in her sleep time ware.

With an air of forced “cool factor”, the commercial was at least instructive and did its job to market the company’s services. Not my favorite, but not the worst.

Then, Education Connection attempted to grab one too many cookies out of the cookie jar: they made a music video.

Oh. God. No.

Enter: Bad Hillary Swank look-alike working at a corn-dog stand (in a fair?), who clearly should be focused on getting a record deal than her four-year degree…[insert sardonic cough].

With her first belted note, my eyes can’t leave her vicious haircut that unfortunately just looks like a wig that was on its way to becoming a mullet for an ’80s movie (or parody, anyway). Streaked with bad highlights, it doesn’t even seem to have individually moving strands.

Then she begins to bop to the beat. Oh, she’s rockin’ now — to an awful tune that you know will be stuck in your head all day. What is this commercial?! For an awful minute and half, my mind is so completely consumed by the atrociousness of this ad, that even if I had been looking for an online college, I wouldn’t have made the connection to the commercial.

Even worse to realize was that this “song” was created by an actual music producer, Anthony Falcone. He produces actual music — that’s pretty good! Yet, this commercial is listed on his resume on his Facebook page. Rethink this Falcone, rethink it!

Who really is to blame for this monstrous flop though? The company for hiring the ad execs, the execs for hiring this girl, or Falcone for the cheesy track?

Either way, here is the commercial. What do you think?

America’s Most Wanted: Cheaters? A New Site To Post and Catch The Unfaithful


If you Googled your name, you would probably expect a number of matches leading to your profiles on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. (and er — maybe some pictures on your online albums you didn’t know were public). But if you’ve got wandering eyes, hands, and/or other body parts, you may sorry to realize you’ve got a presence on another site — and, frankly, you’ve probably got a butt-ugly profile picture here.

Cheaterville.com is a source for victims and eye witnesses of cheaters to blast the wrongdoers’ dirty crimes for the world to see. All tips are anonymous and free, and the company promises never to release or sell the information, hoping to encourage bystanders to help “fight infidelity.” Posters have the ability to write in their own words and post pictures and even videos — if you happen to catch someone in the act. And to add to its sinister power, Cheaterville just launched apps for the iPhone and Android phones.

The person about whom the stories are posted has the ability to address the accusations, but not much more. Filing suits for defamation is out of the question because as Cheaterville chief executive James McGibney told Marie Claire, they’re not much different than Facebook. Meaning what?

“When a person posts there, they are liable for that post, not Facebook,” he explains.

McGibney says about 3/100 cheaters tries to contact them trying to battle and clarify parts of an accusation made towards them, but don’t expect Cheaterville to be sympathetic.

“It’s not up to us to decide who’s lying,” McGibney concludes.

The site even puts a ‘fun’ spin on things by featuring special “Cheaters of the Day” in an attempt to raise the unfaithful onto a pedestal of mock glory. Users can read stories posted by the anonymous tippers and vote on who is the worse cheater of the two — take it as an attempt for victims and the everyday cheater-haters to bond over this special cause? Either way, it’s pretty entertaining.

So, you want to do a little prescreen on that new guy/girl you’re dating? Suspicious about your lovebird’s commitment and where he/she is really spending all that time away from you? Before you go to drastic measures of snooping through texts and emails, and end up on some site called Stalkerville.com — maybe run a Cheaterville scan first. It’s free and at least you can erase your computer history. Sketchy still, yes, but hey — the site wouldn’t be running on a bunch of honest monogamists would it?

What do you think about this new site?

Party Like It’s the 1990’s


It’s been said before and I’ll say it again – the 90’s were the time to live. Those of us who had the privilege of growing up during the 90’s got to experience the best of television, music, and overall pop culture. Times were simpler; the economy was kickin’; kids played outside; life was good.

Nothing brings me back to me my childhood like good ole 90’s jam. It was cheesy on so many levels, and yet music has never been so good as it was in the 90’s. (This is debatable, I know, but for the fact that it’s attached to memories of my childhood I am biased.)

Below I’ve included 5 songs that epitomize 90’s music in every way. If they don’t make you want to go and put on your baggy overalls and give yourself bad highlights and rock out – you’re not really a 90’s kid. It’s pretty much that simple.

“Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” — C&C Music Factory

The only thing better than this in-your-face jam session is the half-naked running-man dance moves in the video. This song will indeed get everybody to dance now…

“Miami” — Will Smith

Will Smith got us gettin’ jiggy with it his velvet blazer and overly puffy jacket and then took us for a sexy trip to Florida’s hottest party spot. Plus, Eva Mendes’s cameo makes the video all that much better…

“Fly” — Sugar Ray

Who can forget Sugar Ray and his ‘stylishly’  frosted hair? This song speaks of simple dreams and makes you want to kick back with a lemonade in the delicious summer heat and remember what it felt like to be carefree. What could be better than that?

“Livin’ La Vida Loca” — Ricky Martin

When this song by Ricky Martin hit the charts, you couldn’t find a woman who didn’t swoon over they way this loco Latin swayed his hips round and round. The 90’s were, indeed, a great time for friendly international relations…

‘Tearin’ Up My Heart” — *Nsync

The 90’s really wouldn’t be the same without the explosion of the teeny boppers and the boy bands who were cute and heart-melting at the same time. Boys and girls were gaga over these 5 guys, and really, who wouldn’t be with those sexy dance moves and poetic songs? Not to mention that wardrobe…