herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Playing hard to get, Sandra? George puts on the charm at movie festival

HE'S the dream idol of millions of women – but it looks like Sandra Bullock is resistant to the charms of George Clooney.

In the city of romance, George tried to woo the Hollywood actress – but she laughed off his attempts.

The A-listers were hamming it up for the Venice Film Festival, which got off to an explosive start with the premiere of their 3D space movie Gravity.

It teams them up as astronauts facing a life-or-death situation by a botched Russian missile shot.

Twenty films, including five from the United States and three British ones, are in competition for the Golden Lion trophy that will be awarded at the end of the 70th edition of the world's oldest film festival, on September 7.

AVALANCHE

"I hate space," Bullock's astronaut character Ryan Stone says midway through what essentially is a Clooney-Bullock two hander in which their shuttle is destroyed by an avalanche of space debris triggered by a Russian missile strike on a spy satellite gone wrong.

She does not learn to love space, but Stone, a scientist who has been grieving over the death of her four-year-old daughter, has a spiritual rebirth, thanks in part to the ebullient resilience of Clooney's country music loving Matt Kowalsky and to her discovering her own instinct to survive.

At the news conference, Bullock and Clooney said the film, directed by Mexico's Alfonso Cuaron, had been one of the most demanding in which they'd ever appeared. "Physically and mentally it was the craziest, most bizarre, challenging thing. But you find what you're made of," Bullock said.

In possibly the strongest female space acting performance since Sigourney Weaver killed the female reptile in Alien, Bullock overcomes waves of debris that destroy pretty much everything in orbit as Stone and Kowalsky embark on a roller-coaster ride from hell to get back to earth.

There is no sound in space, the movie says in its opening titles, but the pounding soundtrack, and the 3D explosions on board the disintegrating space vehicles strongly suggest otherwise.

hnews@herald.ie

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