Any attempt to explain the career of director Alfonso Cuarón has always defied writerly cliché; the task is even more difficult now that that arc has taken him to space. Earthbound objects leave the pull of our atmosphere only through excessive force and a multitude of calculations, and oftentimes it seems as though Cuarón has glided, featherlike, from one project to the other with little concern for rhyme or reason. But in hindsight, it's a pretty smart feather, one that has allowed him to do a little bit of everything, from franchise blockbusters to low-budget foreign-language hits. And it's a well-calibrated feather, too, not to industry strategy, but to Cuarón's own honesty about what he can and wants to invest himself in artistically. Sometimes this is commercially rewarding, as with Gravity, a four-year labor of love to whose $55.55 million box office take you likely helped contribute this weekend; sometimes you get Great Expectations. But there is no throwaway Alfonso Cuarón film, partially because there are so few of them, but also because he never seems to go on autopilot.