Alfonso Cuaron’s 2013 masterpiece drew praise for its sound design and cinematography, which combined to give viewers the sensation of being in space. Following a pair of astronauts adrift in space after their shuttle is destroyed by debris, Gravity explores their personalities and relationship against the backdrop of the cold, all-encompassing void. It was dazzling to watch on an IMAX screen, but while the human drama managed to translate to home theaters, the overwhelming spectacle was harder to capture. Atmos is a great format for the film, where the position and movement of sounds are key to immersing viewers in the physics of space. The chirping of machines, headset chatter bouncing around in the astronauts’ helmets, and of course, Steven Price’s stirring, layered score; all of these mesh together to create soundscapes unlike anything else in Hollywood cinema. If you have an Atmos setup and want to show it off to friends, Gravity is easily one of the most impressive experiences available.
It may be hard to imagine that mere miles from the border of Texas are cities that resemble war zones. Such is the case with Juarez, Mexico, a city that just a few years ago had the highest murder rate in the world. It is in this borderland that Sicario sets its scene, beginning when FBI agent Kate Mercer (Emily Blunt) joins a covert operation to hunt the cartel leader responsible for a series of killings in America. As the strike team moves closer to its goal, Kate experiences firsthand the stagnant horror of the war on drugs, a conflict that corrupts both sides of the border. Heavy subject matter aside, Sicario is a relentless thriller, with a cloud of dread hanging above even the most sunlit scenes. When the tension snaps and the bullets start flying, viewers may feel as if they have been sucked into the vicious quagmire themselves.
Clint Eastwood has made an impressive career directing smaller-scale character dramas about troubled men, and Sully is yet another notch in that belt. Based on the autobiography of Chesley Sullenberger, Sully puts you in the middle of the improvised and harrowing landing that the accomplished pilot made on the Hudson River in 2009. The film also gives you insight on the psyche of Sully after the near fatal landing, and it captures the tense and tumultuous board hearings where he’s questioned over his choices. Experiencing the famous landing as well as a visceral and controversial dream sequence where Sully crashes a plane into a skyscraper makes for required viewing in Dolby Atmos.
You’ve somehow managed to miss out on HBO’s epic fantasy soap opera? There is still time to catch up before the show wraps up. Set on the fantasy continent of Westeros, the show chronicles the political and military conflicts centered around control of the throne. The series has adapted (and eventually diverged from) George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, packing all of the political intrigue and violence of the novels into a taut episodic format. Despite being made for the small screen, there is nothing small about the scale of Game of Thrones, with the exotic locales and pitched battles of Westeros rendered in vivid detail.
Admittedly, T2 isn’t as subversive as the original, but it’s still worth watching just to see what your favorite drug-addicts have been up to the last 20 years. Also, it’s a Danny Boyle film, which means that the price of the Blu-ray is worth it for his original and stimulating visuals alone. Just like the original, T2 is accompanied by an amazing soundtrack that’s a who’s-who of post-punk and new wave brands. The mix of captivating visuals and perfect soundtrack makes for a home theater experience that you simply won’t be able to get with any other film currently available in Dolby Atmos sound.