Still, at the very least,Gravity is a directorial feat, eye-popping from frame one to end credits. It’s the best visual effects reel Hollywood has produced sinceAvatar, and could well become the rare gold standard that holds up a even two decades later like those once-breakthroughs Terminator 2 or Jurassic Park which still look awesome despite being ripped off hundreds of times since. In Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s DON JON , Scarlett Johansson is introduced visually in a tight red dress as her male admirers, led by the title characters (newly muscled JGL…speaking of eye candy) describe her as a “dime”. In that comedy’s strongest move in its final act, it suddenly asks you to look at her more deeply.Gravity is that kind of a dime. The exterior is so intoxicating that it’s easy to forget to even consider anything else beneath the glossy perfect 10 surface. And what’s inside counts a lot in the long run. Gravity is being compared to the Stanley Kubrick classic2001: A Space Odyssey in several reviews which, and I’m not the first to note this , is a strange comparison. 2001 is notoriously enigmatic and even if you’ve seen it many times its mysteries remain intact. The awe has long outlasted its now dated visual effects. With Gravity the only question that haunts afterwards is “How did they film that?” My point though I fear I’ve lost it is that Gravityis a dime and I’m sure I’ll give it a second chance but loving it is a steep climb from where I’m standing, looking up at it. Whether or not you love Gravity,and my guess is you will (I’m jealous that I’m missing the love-in), it’s a good time to be hitting the theaters. Enough Saidand Don Jon, also in release,are far from perfect movies and nowhere near as ambitious as Gravity, but as star vehicles they’re exceptional.
Hoopla launched in full in May with 20 library systems. As of early September, there are about 220,000 people using the app, said Michael Manon, Hoopla’s brand manager. The goal is to reach 100 library systems by year’s end. Libraries have always been a source of audiovisual entertainment. A 2012 Pew Research Center survey found that among patrons 16 years old and older, 40 percent visited libraries to borrow movies. Another 16 percent borrowed music. In the Seattle area, DVDs and CDs of popular titles can have queues of hundreds of people waiting to check them out. E-books have been offered for years now. “Public libraries do not have the budgets to compete with Amazon, Comcast, and Netflix and will not be able to pay a premium for online content,” Blankenship said, adding that DVDs will continue to be the best way to offer popular movies. Updating and maintaining that physical collection takes time and money. It also means libraries have to pay for the media upfront, while Hoopla allows them to pay per time a title is borrowed. Those costs depend on the type of media and its release date, and range from 99 cents to $2.99. Seattle libraries have allocated $10,000 a month limit so far for Hoopla items and patrons are limited to 20 checkouts a month, Blankenship said. That limit may change, depending on demand and how usage grows. Hoopla’s launch won’t affect the stocking of physical DVDs at library branches for the time being, Blankenship said.