More Cloud Atlas World Premiere Coverage, Reviews

Note: This is an archived entry. Some links might not still work, but I have tried to ensure scan and video embeds are still in place. If any linked material is unavailable, please let me know and I’ll attempt to find a copy in my personal archives.

Toronto Star has a slideshow of images from the premiere up; here are the pics of Hugo and a couple others:


Hugo Weaving


Directors Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer


Hanks and Wilson, reunited at last 😉 Above three photos: Pawel Dwulit/Toronto Star


CelebrityGossip.net /The full cast  Nice to see Hugo smiling. 😉
L to R (back row): Zhu Zhu, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent, Keith David, Lana Wchowski, Tom Tykwer, David Gyasi, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Andy Wachowski, James D'Arcy, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, ?
(front row) Xun Zhou, Susan Sarandon, Doona Bae


Celebritygossip.com. Halle Berry. Who can apparently wear anything and make it work. 😉

The Toronto Globe and Mail has a slightly cheeky article about the mob scene at the Cloud Atlas red carpet, and makes note of some actors bypassing the press (interestingly, Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon milked the crowds but didn't want to chat with reporters, while Hugo didn't linger outside but did give interviews). The film should be over shortly, so we'll get the first reviews and impressions (and maybe those video interviews) soon.

More to come!

UPDATE: Wow. I haven't seen this kind of violently divided reaction to a film since V for Vendetta. Apparently the early buzz on Cloud Atlas was very negative because a bunch of people left well before it ended and couldn't wait to get on Twitter and start slagging away. Most of them sounded like either jaded festival snobs (or professional snarks) who can't bear anything ambitious with a heart-on-sleeve earnestness, or like snotty 12 year olds who wanted another Matrix and found this far too confusing. THEN the film actually ended and the first wildly enthusiatic raves started appearing. The film received a 10 minute standing ovation, people were hugging one another and crying in the theater, and saying it was one of the best films they'd ever seen. So… either you're going to love this movie or hate it. I'm cautiously optimistic because those familiar with the book and those moved by the trailer seemed to be mostly in the "love" camp. TheFilmStage has compiled a list of tweets that give you an idea of the divisiveness out there. And my Twitter feed has a fat stack of them too, which I hope will be transfered here tomorrow. I've tweeted or retweeted more tonight than in my entire life. It's been crazy.  Still waiting on interviews, video footage. Exhausted but invigorated… I love a good fight. That said, I won't fully engage in one until I've seen the film. Yes, I love Hugo and have loved most of the Wachowskis' films (well, not Speed Racer…), but I am enough of a fan not to automatically rubber-stamp everything they do. I hold them to a higher standard and expect them to live up to it. (Please, Hugo, I don't care how much money they offer you, no more giant robot or superhero sequels.) 😉  I can be a tough audience, but I like what I've seen of Cloud Atlas so far.


"Cast of #CloudAtlas before we collided with them in the dark" Trish Hoang

The Movies and Other Things blogger even thinks Oscar talk may be warranted. I'm always a skeptic on that front because people tend to vote for films that are uncontroversial and make them feel good about themselves. But who knows? 😉 There's a story (no review) at New York Times Artsbeat describing the atmosphere in the theater.

Other early positive-leaning reviews:
Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon: "Overall, while the filmmaking ambition largely outweighs the narrative, is an achievement worth experiencing in theaters. After seeing it once I still get the feeling there is more for me to explore and perhaps more to be found in the years to come. It's not often filmmakers take such risks as this is a film that could have easily been an incoherent mess. I am concerned audiences will grow tired and impatient with the storytelling and grow uninterested with what is more of a repetitive theme than a revelatory one, but whether audiences accept it or not, this is a film that will have people talking and for that we should be thankful"

Peter Nelis, Click Online "…There are fantastic turns from Sturgess as Adam Ewing, Hanks as Zachry Bailey, Berry as Luisa Rey and Meronym, Weaving as a distinctly Agent Smith-esque Bill Smoke and the ridiculously scary (you'll need to see it) Nurse Noakes and Bae as Sonmi-451, while Grant and Sarandon have some meaningful peripheral roles that, while not taxing their thespian abilities all that much, still add quite bit to the overall product…clichéd and all as it may sound, Cloud Atlas is a picture that genuinely has all the bases covered. It takes a pinch of everything, mixes it with a dash of everything else, throws in some masterful performances, great writing, beautiful scenery and still manages to feel cohesive at all times…Many will disagree, but for my money it's little short of a masterpiece; three hours of brilliance with very few missteps. Like the movie itself, five stars just isn’t enough."

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com:"The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity, yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds, Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent, Ben Whishaw, Hugo Weaving, and Susan Sarandon play the same game, taking on roles of different sexes, races, and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse, returning to his Priscilla, Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots, is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer, but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves, they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment, a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor, is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story, character, and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check."

Alex Billington, FirstShowing.net: "…The Wachowskis and Tykwer have made a movie that truly pushes the boundaries of cinematic storytelling. It pushes, even challenges, the audience itself to seek the brilliance within it, while also ask that they try to discover something about themselves while watching it. Not many movies come close to doing that, in any way. And those that are unmoved by the way this pushes the audience must be, unfortunately, blind to the revelations within. Cloud Atlas is an achievement of the grandest of scales. It may forever change your life…..Whether or not I understood every scene, I certainly felt the emotion, deep down within me. By the end I was wiping away tears. Tears of joy, out of pure happiness, from realizing that they have accomplished what I thought might not be possible. Tears because, remarkably, my mind might have been starting to come to an understanding of life and this universe merely through a presentation of a few different meaningful stories. How do they all connect? What does it all mean? What is life about? "

Sean O'Connell, Movies.com: "Dense, ambitious and unavoidably grandiose, Cloud Atlas is a philosophical think piece that hinges on unprecedented storytelling and a dizzyingly proficient technical execution. Some movies play as throwaway paperbacks. Cloud Atlas is Encyclopedia Britannica, volumes A through M. At times, its laborious to track the comings and goings of the six interlocking stories weaved throughout Atlas. But co-directors Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski shine enough light on the dominant human themes in author David Mitchell’s tome to make the film worthy of its the lengthy ride."

Peter Debruge, Variety: "An intense three-hour mental workout rewarded with a big emotional payoff, "Cloud Atlas" suggests that all human experience is connected in the pursuit of freedom, art and love. As inventive narratives go, there's outside the box, and then there's pioneering another dimension entirely, and this massive, independently financed collaboration among Tom Tykwer and Wachowski siblings Lana and Andy courageously attempts the latter, interlacing six seemingly unrelated stories in such a way that parallels erupt like cherry bombs in the imagination… Certain links are impossible to miss by virtue of the way the three writer-directors assemble the film, and yet, given the sheer scope of the source material, so much has been omitted that one's attention must be engaged at all times as the mosaic triggers an infinite range of potentially profound personal responses…. No less exciting is the way "Cloud Atlas" challenges its actors to portray characters outside their race or gender. For instance Hugo Weaving plays villains in nearly every age, ranging from a heartless Korean consumerist to a Nurse Ratched-like ward master. Indeed, the filmmakers put the lie to the notion that casting — an inherently discriminatory art — cannot be adapted to a more enlightened standard of performance over mere appearance, reminding us why the craft is rightfully called 'acting.' "

Drew McWeeny, HitFix: "The film deals first with the notion of how stories serve as both history and as a way of making sense of who we are. Characters from one segment appear in letters in another or in movies that we see in passing or even as stories shared around a campfire. But the bigger connection here is that these completely different characters in all of these radically different times and places are all the same souls, colliding again and again as they move through time. Identity is a malleable thing, with bodies serving merely as temporary containers for the essence that remains constant through time. It seems particularly appropriate that this is the first film to feature a credit onscreen for Lana Wachowski as writer and director, and it fits neatly into the overall thematic interests that both Tykwer and the Wachowskis have explored in the past….The idea of using a small cast to play roles in each of the different segments, some of the actors changing race and gender over the various stories, is definitely risky, but I honestly believe that if you're going to make something truly great, you have to be willing to be completely embarrassed. I'd always rather see real ambition that falls short as opposed to someone playing it safe with something we've seen before. "Cloud Atlas" is hard to describe if your only touchstones are other films because it doesn't feel like any other movie I can name. It's not just the way the film was made or cast… it's the types of stories being told. Don't expect conventional punchlines here. Instead, these stories push moral and ethical buttons in some unusual and even oblique ways, and there is plenty of room in the film for every viewer to have a different experience with what they see. There's a sense of trust on the part of the filmmakers that the audience will be willing to work for the pleasures that are strewn throughout, and there's also a deeply heartfelt optimism even in the film's darkest moments that makes it stand apart from the typical dystopian vision of most modern science fiction."

 Devin Faraci, Badass Digest: "…all of the complaints about the film will boil down to one thing that I can never see as a negative: They tried to do too much…I actually think they accomplished what they were trying to do. The word I would use for this movie is audacious. This is the boldest sort of filmmaking, and Cloud Atlas is a movie that throws every single thing out on screen and gives 200% effort. That can make the moments that fail feel like bodyblows, but it also makes the moments that work – and there are way more of those – transcendent. …Actors reappear to represent a resurfacing of… what? Souls, if you’re into that. Problems and ideas and hopes and dreams, if you’re more secular. In Cloud Atlas every crime and every kindness echoes across time, and the actions of a man in 1840 leads to a global change in consciousness 200 years later. It’s a simple sentiment when spelled out like that, but in action in the film it has a breathtaking meaning….Cloud Atlas is sometimes silly, and it’s sometimes pretentious and it’s sometimes overstuffed. But every single one of those things, to me, is a positive. It’s an exceptional piece of filmmaking, one of the bravest works I have ever seen."

Tod Gilchrist, Celebuzz: "Once the Wachowskis have introduced their various worlds, however, the story settles into a comfortable rhythm that builds naturally to a moving and emotional crescendo, and pays off most of the film’s ideas. And even if, say, the prosthetics worn by the white actors fails to convince you that one iteration of them is Asian, the filmmakers still successfully communicate the emotion beneath that make-up, and make you care about both the ideas and the characters themselves….Will it strike a chord with moviegoers? Who knows. But Cloud Atlas is smart, moving and inspiring, both cinematically and personally — a Brokeback Mountain for the sci-fi set, perhaps. Because even if you’re not quite sure who or what you are, thinking about those questions at all is the first step to answering them. And most amazingly, it says that not only with the story that it tells, but in the very process of telling of it."

There will be more, but I am completely spent. Very encouraged by the bulk of the reviews… The dominant theme seems to be that everyone found flaws in the film (as I did in the novel) but that its ambition and open-heartedness make these flaws endearing. I've felt that way about most of my favorite films over the years… they become like human beings themselves in that very few are perfect, but the best ones are always interesting companions. Anyhow, back with more (still looking for video of Hugo) soon.

Wait: we have video! Two interviewers here, one is an identity politics ditz, but the second gets some interesting, if brief, info:

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s