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.
The dizzying ride continues, and I’m scrambling to keep up… once again, thanks for your patience. A ream of new videos, photos, reviews and other coverage continues to appear… Here are the highlights of everything from the past two days. Apologies if it’s not a model of organization. Here are some Red Carpet videos from the Septembe 8 premiere at the Princess of Wales Theatre… some go into more depth than others. The crowd outside the theater was chaotic, and there were over a dozen actors being juggled amongst the fleet of reporters, some of whom asked great questions about the film, others… well, I’ve always liked Hugo’s beard, but I don’t think his grooming technique is a cosmic mystery. But I’m amused and charmed by the way he’s tried to answer every question:
This is a longer clip from Tribute.ca with more in-depth questions (though Hanks and Berry don’t give them much time– room for the supporting cast to shine!) 😉 Can’t embed yet, but do check it out. (Hugo’s bit is 11.30 in).
But this is my favorite so far, though it’s audio only (warning, contains plot spoilers… and juicy details of a secret crush of Hugo’s) 😉
Here are some more review blurbs and new photos:
Hugo greets fans at the Cloud Atlas World Premiere Red Carpet 8 September Photo: WireImage
Hugo on the red carpet (James D’Arcy to left) Photo: Eric Seaman
There’s more covereage of and quotes from the September 9 Press Conference at Vanity Fair, Agence France Presse, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters, metronews.ca, The Grio and IndieWire, another review roundup at Film School Rejects, and a brief red carpet video (no Hugo footage) at the Globe and Mail.
Scott, Iceberg Ink: “CLOUD ATLAS the film is probably as close as I could imagine anyone coming to translating the cross-connected, existential, nesting doll that is the novel. Attention was paid to how the film would need to be told in a slightly different fashion to the book, how the characters are connected, and simply how the narrative could go from beginning, to middle, to end without losing the audience…Firstly, having the core cast (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry , Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving , Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, with Susan Sarandon , and Hugh Grant) play multiple roles in each time period/story (in some cases in very heavy makeup…Hugo Weaving as a hard-as-nails female nurse comes to mind) was a stroke of genius. Basically showing the connection throughout the stories (other than the comet shaped birthmark) would have been tough otherwise, but this adds a level of ease to the audience allowing them to accept the connections more readily. Speaking of the core cast, the acting pretty much across the board was stellar, with all parties involved bringing their A game.”
Scott Feinberg, Hollywood Reporter: “There are positive and negative effects of jumping back and forth between an 1849 sea voyage, 1936 Cambridge, 1970s San Francisco, 2012 London, 2144 “Neo Seoul” and the 2300s. As for positives, it was very appealing to the actors to get to play so many different parts within a single film and to the makeup artists who changed their ages, races and even genders … Ultimately, connections between these stories, which initially seemed random and unrelated, become apparent. Without spoiling anything, I can say that thematically, at least, they all are about controlling and being controlled and about the desire for freedom that rests in every soul…. I can’t say that I loved the sum of its parts, but I was still blown away by many of the parts themselves: the performances, though it’s hard to single out any one or two actors when everyone had so much to do; the editing by master juggler Alexander Berner; art direction/production designers, who must have felt like they were responsible for many movies; visual effects, coordinated by a team of more than 100; and especially the makeup — anyone who can make Hanks look like himself in Castaway, Mike Myers in Austin Powers, Russell Crowe in Gladiator and Elton John all in one film, deserves heaps of praise. I suspect that Oscar voters will feel similarly.”
Roger Ebert’s Journal, Chicago Sun Times: “”I know I’ve seen something atonishing, and I know I’m not ready to review it. “Cloud Atlas,” by the Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer, is a film of limitless imagination, breathtaking visuals and fearless scope. I have no idea what it’s about. It interweaves six principal stories spanning centuries–three for sure, maybe four. It uses the same actors in most of those stories. Assigning multiple roles to actors is described as an inspiration by the filmmakers to help us follow threads through the different stories. But the makeup is so painstaking and effective that much of the time we may not realize we’re seeing the same actors. Nor did I sense the threads….The actors Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant and Jim Sturgess together portray 14 different characters, and not even sex is a clue because some of their roles cross gender categories. The end credits, which go by a little too fast, will surprise a lot of audience members. Say what? Hugo Weaving plays Nurse Noakes? “Cloud Atlas” has locks on Oscar nominations for best makeup and costume design…The stories, much adapted and retold from a David Mitchell novel, include characters, times and locations as diverse as a 19th century sailing ship, a futuristic Korea, Aboriginals, young gay intellectuals at Cambridge, a nuclear scientist, a slave, a classical composer and others. There is a good deal of narration, most of it about the nature of human life (and some of it about lives of fabricants). There are chase and action scenes as good as than the best work by the Wachowskis (the “Matrix” films) and their friend and collaborator Tykwer (“Run, Lola Run”). Moment by moment, scene by scene, story by story, I was enthralled….What did it sum up to? What is the through line? I can’t say. Not today, anyway. Not yet. Maybe there isn’t one. What will its first audiences get out of it? My mind travels back to the first public screening of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the film the Wachowskis says made them filmmakers, and inspired this one. As Rock Hudson walked out in the middle of the second half, I heard him quite audibly ask, ‘What the hell was that about?’ ”
Hugo Weaving and Hugh Grant Photo: WireImage (anyone seen these without watermarks? They have two more, facially obstructed, here.)
The Cloud Atlas Press Conference September 9 Photo: Associated Press/SF
Hugo Weaving and Katrina Greenwood at the TIFF afterparty Photo: TIFF website
Christopher Redmond, Dear Cast & Crew: ” Cloud Atlas is unbelievably ambitious, unusually paced and virtually indescribable. The story gleefully spans centuries but snubs chronology, relentlessly repurposes actors, mixes genres and genders, and seems to basically disregard everything we’ve seen before about how to make an epic. Hollywood filmmaking until this point might one day be referred to as B.C.A. (Before Cloud Atlas). Whatever advice you provided for playing it safe clearly fell on deaf ears. This might be the most dangerous film ever made… But what is the purpose of this film? In a word: revolution. And revolution, by its very nature, cannot be safe. All the characters in this story are rising up against the systems that control them. That same spirit to confidently defy conventions is embraced by the filmmaking approach, and reflects the philosophy of the filmmakers themselves…Aside from the writers, directors and producers, the make-up team may be the most brazen department to work without a net. There was a time when doing black-face was considered racist, but I guess that was way back in the year 1 B.C.A (2011 AD). Now, in the Wachowski and Tykwer “post-racial” world, whites can play Asians, Asians can play whites, and Halle Berry can tease us with Jewish nudity. For at least half the film, it’s often as distracting as it sounds, even when the story is not mixing races. Tom Hanks alone performs a career’s worth of characters, from the unintelligible to the hilarious. Yet by the end, there’s obviously some sense to be made of it all. That said, I couldn’t spoil the plot if I tried… But when a film is already bound to be so divisive, challenging and hard to promote, why not go all the way?… Well, congratulations. Against all advice, you went there. To a place we didn’t even know existed. Without standard plotting or pacing, we get a film we often can’t follow, and yet, cannot turn away. What survives is truly a triumph of the medium. At one point, a character is told “one may transcend any convention if only one can dream of doing so.” Indeed.”
Edward Douglas, ComingSoon.net: “Some stories progress better than others and they’re sorely missed when the film shifts its focus to weaker ones, although sometimes it’s merely to show a single scene before cutting back. At first, there may not seem to be much rhyme or reason to the order in which the stories are assembled, but the editing choices greatly enhance the deeper themes of the novel by shining more light on the parallels and connections between characters in vastly divergent stories… Possibly the most fun that can be found in the film is trying to spot the dozen primary actors as they appear in different incarnations, portraying the hero in one story and the villain in another. The acting itself is fine but the only two standouts are Broadbent as the aforementioned Cavendish, while appearing as the composer and ship’s captain in earlier stories, while Hugo Weaving acts as the conflict or antagonist in all six stories, adding more humor to Cavendish’s story by appearing in drag… Literally six films in one, “Cloud Atlas” is as much a curiosity as it is a boldly brilliant adaptation that captures the best moments of Mitchell’s novel while improving upon the structure and enhancing the main themes. It’s a beautifully-realized puzzle that gives the viewer so much to observe and absorb and so many different ways of assembling the pieces, it’s impossible not to be pulled in by it.”
James Rocchi, MSNBC: “…it is so full of passion and heart and empathy that it feels completely unlike any other modern film in its range either measured through scope of budget or sweep of action. It is an epic film, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, and at the same time it’s about moral choice and moral action in the face of amoral power and amoral cruelty, a laser-blasting and knife-fighting saga about how, with struggle and sacrifice, the workings of the world can turn, slowly, towards something like justice and something like peace, and just because we may not live to see them does not mean we should give up…. Apparently the breakthrough that the Wachowskis and Tykwer had in their preparation was to have the film’s cast take multiple roles throughout the film; a ship’s doctor at sea is a blackmailing hotel clerk is a nuclear scientist is a thug-turned-author is a father in the cooling ashes of the apocalypse. It’s a meditation on the connectedness of all things, and small ripples becoming waves, and at the same time there’s plenty of peril and action and fast-cuts and comedy. And when you watch, say, Tom Hanks throw himself into all the iterations named above, for but one example, it’s a demonstration of both talent and daring on the part of every performer. Some of the make-up, it should be noted, does not work — an artificially aged Hugh Grant looks like he’s wearing a mask of unbaked Pillsbury Crescent Rolls — and some of it does, and some of it works precisely because it does not, like an actress putting in contacts and makeup and dying her hair to play a woman of standing and privilege in an age when no woman of her race would have had that standing and privilege, and we are less thrown out of the film’s world than we are inspired to think of our own…. For fans of all three filmmakers, who’ve been waiting for “Cloud Atlas,” the question has been if the wait is worth it. And just on the grounds of ambition and ethos, it most definitely is. Most hundred-plus million-dollar films want to inspire you to buy the toy, get the game, read the comic and change your purchasing habits; “Cloud Atlas” wants to send you out of the theater inspired to do real work for real change. If that’s a ‘messy failure,’ then let us hope Hollywood’s other directing titans are foolish enough to put bold big ideas in their films to finally go with the big budgets and big effects to give us even more of such fascinating, breathtaking and captivating errors.”
Lisa Scwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: “…nothing else I’ve seen in my time at TIFF approaches the skittery, all-over-the-joint carnival visuals of Cloud Atlas, a ballsy, high-risk attempt to translate David Mitchell’s singular, time-shifting novel of the same name for the screen. The result of this fancy filmmaking dive by Tom Tykwer and siblings Lana and Andy Wachowski is so slippery and all-over-the-place — just keeping track of Tom Hanks’ costumes requires a clicker — that I’d prefer to watch it again before wrestling with it.”
A larger version of the After-Party cast photo 8 September Photo: James D’Arcy Forum
More to come– real life keep interrupting me. 😉