Winter blockbuster season begins

Thunder gods, astronauts, rebel starlets and small men with furry feet: The fall/winter blockbusters of 2013 have started rolling into theaters. I headed over to Berlin’s CineStar at Potsdamer Platz to see “Gravity” and check out the red carpet for the premiere of “Thor: The Dark World.”

“Thor: The Dark World” (released locally as “Thor: The Dark Kingdom”)

Fans and press crowded under the Sony Center dome to hover around the red carpet as Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston chatted it up about their new film, the second in Marvel’s “Thor” franchise. The media’s fave focus question of the night for the actors quickly emerged around Nat’s character slapping up her two costars (how many takes did the scenes require, did they deserve it, und so weiter.). A little bit of Schadenfreude in the house tonight… but with the strong box office predictions for the film’s release, I’m sure the sting has long since faded.

Without further ado, here are a few Fotos vom roten Teppich!

Berlin certainly gave the stars a warm welcome, especially Tom Hiddleston – his army of antihero-loving fans made it vocally clear which Norse god was the favorite of the night. Natalie Portman, of course, looked totally radiant in a flowing white Dior gown. Let’s not give the dress too much credit, though – after all, she would look radiant in a burlap sack, or an orange prison garment. I’ll have to wait to see the film itself – with Stellan Skarsgård and Kat Dennings rounding out the cast, I have high hopes.

“Gravity”

The previous night, I had U-Bahned it over to CineStar with my flatmates to check out “Gravity,” the much-hyped (and rightly so) new film from Alfonso Cuarón, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. The buzz surrounding its technical cinematography and special effects reminded me of the frenzy over “Avatar,” and I wasn’t disappointed.

We saw the movie in 3D, and unanimously found it utterly mindblowing. This film is basically about two things: Revolutionary cinematography and the raw, tenacious strength of the human spirit. The luminous beauty of the visuals of Earth, the massive sense of vertigo amplified by the 3D effects, the flesh-and-bone minimalism of the two leads’ stripped-down yet totally immediate and compelling performances against such a spectacular backdrop… I felt like a child, totally captivated by what was happening on the screen in a very visceral way.

To any who are still on the fence about seeing this movie, I have to ask: Has it been a while since you gasped and curled up in a theater seat, transported and taken along by a director’s vision? Since someone reached in and forcibly suspended your disbelief? This film will do that for you. The staggering, terrible beauty of space, the earth glowing in the endless night, our one and only precious gem, the fragility of life, especially when we dare to venture out into the darkness… Just go see it.

Upcoming

Of course, this is just the beginning – fall and winter are always a fabulously lucrative time to bring out a big movie. The days are dark, the weather is cold and wet, it’s just super conducive to lazing around in comfortable seats and being entertained. Let’s take a look at the season’s offerings.

Probably next in line on my to-see list is “Ender’s Game,” the film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi classic. For those who haven’t seen it, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “Don Jon” is finally in selected theaters (saw this provocative and refreshing film debut at the Berlinale last Feburary). Then we have two with the gifted German actor Daniel Brühl: the Formula One flick “Rush,” co-starring Chris Hemsworth, and the WikiLeaks film “The Fifth Estate,” with Brühl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg and Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange.

I’m on the fence about “Kill Your Darlings” – who doesn’t love Ginsberg and Kerouac? But if Daniel Radcliffe pulls out some agonizingly stilted portrayal of Allen Ginsberg à la Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dalí in “Little Ashes,” I might have to self-asphyxiate on a popcorn kernel. In any case, I will definitely be enjoying the second “Hunger Games” film in late November with most of the rest of the movie-going world, and of course the second installation of “The Hobbit” in December while on winter vacation in Seattle, as per family tradition!

Looking forward to any particular films of the season? Got a recommendation for a current release? Leave a comment and share your tips!

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3 responses to “Winter blockbuster season begins

  1. Good writing, Caitlin.

    Enjoy your time in the northwest and maybe I’ll hear you on the r-ray-dee-i-o?
    Dru

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