Tag Archives: Hugh Grant

Cloud Atlas 3 TV spots, Festival Screenings, IMAX; More Hobbit Updates

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.

No major breaking Hugo Weaving news lately, but two of his biggest projects in years– Cloud Atlas and The Hobbit– continue rolling out promotional material. Cloud Atlas in particular is picking up steam as its October 26 opening approaches, though that’s far from the first time people will be able to see the film. The official premiere will be held October 24 in Los Angeles. Before then, there will be screenings at:

The New Yorker Festival, 6 October (sold out, but some extra tix will be made available at the box office on October 5 at noon),  at the Hamptons International Film Festival on October 8 (tickets now on sale) at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 17 (no doubt special to the Wachowskis, as that’s their home turf; more info here), and The Philadelphia Film Festival (more info here) between October 18 and 28 (specific dates announced September 28). The directors ARE scheduled to appear in New York and Chicago, and I’d guess they’ll be at the other two as well, as they’ve gone all out in promoting this project. The actors probably will not reconvene until the premiere… I could be wrong about that, but many of them are currently working on other projects at the moment; Hugo Weaving is in Sydney and presumably taking a break. Coincidentally, Oranges and Sunshine had its modest but well-received American premiere at the Hamptons Fest last year… I was fortunate enough to go. The film’s director and author Margaret Humphries were on hand. This time I’ll be going to the New Yorker Festival screening, though I’m still working out travel logistics… I’ll add in other preview dates as they become available. I hope some of you are able to go!  😉 It’s frustrating for European fans that the film won’t open overseas until early next year… all the more so because it’s based on a British novel. When will studios outgrow these tiresome delaying tactics and give fans worldwide equal opportunities to see films at similar times? Don’t they know a lot of us talk globally on the internet? 😉 Usually American Hugo Weaving fans have to wait months or years to see his Aussie films too; none of it is fair to the artists or their fans.

But if you’re among the fans who have to wait for its formal opening date, you’ll have the consolation of being able to see it in IMAX in some locations. For a film of this scale and visual beauty, it’s a natural choice, and I’m glad Warner Bros has gambled in its favor. More details at The Hollywood Reporter, Screen Rave, Screen Rant and (for the full press release) Boston.com. The only info about the premiere thusfar is via this sweepstakes entry on Fandango.com — they’re offering a grand prize of airfare, luxury hotel lodgings and tix to the event  (go fill it out. I’ll wait.) 😉 Again, there’s no official word on whether or not the full cast will be at the premiere, or at any of the festival screenings, but I’m inclined to think yes to the former (at least some of the cast will definitely be available) and probably not to the latter. But we’ll have to wait and see.

By the way, Cloud Atlas now has a UK Facebook page in addition to the US one.

Now to those TV spots– I haven’t actually seen any of these on TV yet, but that should change soon:

The first emphasizes the romance plots and a sampling of rave reviews:

The second highlights the villains, mostly played by Hugo Weaving (we see Rev. Horrox, and Bill Smoke) and Hugh Grant:

The third one goes back to the Larger Themes angle of the theatrical trailer and extended first look:

More response to the trailers, marketing, et al at First Showing, Cinema Blend, Movie Carpet, IGN,  and The Film Stage. There’s an in-depth interview with actor Jim Sturgess at Bullett (via Jim Sturgess Online) . Susan Sarandon discussed the film (and her dogs’ Twitter accounts) on Jimmy Fallon about a week ago. The Movie Carpet article featured a slew of new banners, posters and other promotion, including a look at two of Hugo’s characters here:


I do believe that’s Nurse Noakes glaring out at poor Timothy Cavendish on the left, and of course Bill Smoke is in the one on the right. The Adam Ewing and Frobisher plots get short shrift in a lot of these, unfortunately… I guess it’s harder to sell period pieces. By the way, the balding Korean character on the far right is Hugh Grant… he’s also seen briefly in the Papa Song section of the earliest trailer. As far as Hugo’s characters go, we’ve now seen Rev Horrox twice (he’s the officious man with muttonchops), Bill Smoke quite a lot (because Hugo will never be permitted to live down Agent Smith), Old Georgie a few times (purely visual so far) and glimpses of Noakes and the Korean official known as “Control” according to some sources– there’s no such character in the novel, so I assume he’s a composite of several government or authority figures. He’s heart briefly in the first, extended trailer saying “The problem you present is a political one”. No one has yet identified Hugo’s character in the second (Frobisher) story, so it’s probably a cameo. If I were to guess based on the novel, I’d go with Bicycle Policeman. 😉

I’ve heard some of the banners are being used on bus adverts already. As always, if you know where higher res versions can be found, do let us know.

Speaking of which, the James D’Arcy fans have come through with these larger, lovelier WireImage pics of Hugo with Hugh Grant. (Taken by Jeff Vespa 9 September at TIFF):

Hugo should work with James D’Arcy more often. These guys have astonishing resources and are wonderful help in tracking down material. When fans of character actors network, beautiful things happen. 😉 (There are lots of Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, David Wenham, etc fans I still keep in touch with… because they’re as great as the actors they celebrate. And I just know Hugo is going to work with mosty of those actors again.) 😉

Breaking news: new, LARGE Icelandic promo banner:

[Has been taken down at site of origin. Does anyone have a copy?)

Lana and Andy Wachowski gave an in-depth, over-40-minute interview (their first radio interview) to WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift a few days ago… very much worth a listen if you’ve loved any of their work. They discuss the film at length, and aren’t afraid of personal questions, though none are too intrusive:

The latest review excerpts:

Andrew Robinson, Film School Rejects: “It’s easy when watching Cloud Atlas to become too involved with the details to recognize the overall point. Each of the individual stories are all so enthralling that by the time we cutaway to another that we’re pining for more with the story we just left. Seeing each of the main actors, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Keith David, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving and Doona Bae all appear as different roles throughout time gives this cyclical feel to the film which aids its thematic core. That being, regardless of what impediments stand in the way of righteousness, human nature will always strive towards love, happiness and togetherness….With all of its philosophical goals, the movie still delivers from an entertainment stand point. It blends the deep thoughts with piercing action and brilliant climactic points to each story within the story. Although two-and-a-half house seems daunting, the film holds interest easily throughout.  A+”

Lucy O’Brien, IGN: ” And while Cloud Atlas may not be a perfect movie, it is a unique one.  And in today’s mainstream Hollywood, that is a rare commodity. Just pay a visit to your local multiplex, where sequels, prequels and remakes dominate its screens, where the only ‘original’ films showing are those based on massive cross-platform media franchises…. With all this considered, it’s unsurprising the Cloud Atlas trio faced a lack of enthusiasm as they began to shop their screenplay around. Even after they had a cast of considerable clout signed on (the film stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon and Hugo Weaving, amongst others), there was resistance.  It suffered a damning combination – not only was the story an unknown entity outside of those who’d read the book (and we’re not talking a Harry Potter or a Hunger Games readership here), it was massively ambitious. As Lana Wachowski understated very early on, it was a hard sell…. Cloud Atlas is a rarity then, amongst the cycle of sequels, remakes and reboots, and this rarity makes it important. With its interconnecting stories, universal themes, multiple role casting, ethnicity/gender switch ups, and epic, overarching narrative spanning half a millennium, it is truly, audaciously new (regardless of the fact that it is an adaptation.)  And without new ideas, where is there to go? How is cinema to be pushed forward? Without new ideas, we’d have no 2001: A Space Odyssey, which means we’d have no Star Wars, which means we’d have no Matrix, which means we’d have no Inception. The knock-on effect will cease if Hollywood endlessly appeals to built-in audiences. ‘New’ is an endangered species, and it has never been more important.”

Kyle Malcharek, Kyle’s Cinematic Inclination: “One of the major conceits of the film is the reuse of actors in multiple different roles (up to 6 each). The meaning of this in the context of the film has been widely discussed and opinions vary. Personally, I think that the primary reason Tom Tykwer and Lana & Andy Wachowski did this because it’s a cool thing to do. However, my interpretation with regard to the film is that every character portrayed by each actor epitomizes a particular aspect of humanity. The idea of reincarnation of souls is also implied in the film (and book), but in a completely different way (using a common birthmark), so the recurring actors must be explainable in another way…. Despite its huge budget and shiny effects, Cloud Atlas is a very deep film and one I look forward to rewatching more than once. I can honestly say that I haven’t given more thought to any other film I’ve seen this year. Due to this depth, it will (and does already) have its critics. That is the joy of movies like this; they make people feel strongly one way or the other.”

David Baldwin, We Got This Covered: “Broadbent is great in all of his roles, as are Hugo Weaving and James D’Arcy who appear as bit players in many of the stories…. Taking into account all elements at play, Cloud Atlas is a frustrating film without easy answers. Indecision and imperfection abound throughout the film, but its wild ambition and astoundingly large scope is simply marvelous to behold…. There has not been this huge a gamble in filmmaking since Avatar and I genuinely fear for it because I know not all audiences will be as kind to it as I was. But I can only hope that most will give it a chance if only to be left completely breathless by what they witness and experience.”

Finally (on the Cloud Atlas front) the film’s Facebook page recently posted a larger version of the Bill Smoke image originally seen in the promotional slideshow back in July. Some film sites hadn’t noticed it before and proclaimed it “a new image“… it isn’t, but good to see, nonetheless.

CA-Hugo-02.jpg

There are a few new tidbits on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as well, though nothing as momentous as the debut of the second, multiple-ending trailer recently. (If you missed it, see the previous Hugonuts entry or the Official Hobbit Website.) For analysis of the trailer, screencaps and new images (including a new, Bilbo-centric poster), see The Hobbit Films, We Are Movie Geeks, TIME online, Comic Book Resources, Flickering Myth and (of course) TheOneRing.net. The BBC has news of the film’s Official Royal Premiere in London on December 12, two days in advance of the official opening, and a couple weeks after the Wellington Premiere. (The news report lists the cast but doesn’t specify if they’ll be in attendance.) Finally, if you want to be read bedtime stories by Gollum (and who doesn’t?) 😉 go here. And if you really want advance tickets far in advance for An Unexpected Journet, TORn reports that you should be ready at noon on November 7 (….in the US).

Pics of Hugo at Bell Shakespeare, More Cloud Atlas coverage, Hobbit Week

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.

Cloud Atlas is still spaking a lot of debate and curiosity out there, so I’ll post another selection of review links. Also, Peter Jackson is revving early Hobbit promotion into high gear… only a couple more months until An Unexpected Journey premieres. Can you believe it? Indications so far are that it’ll be well worth the wait.

First, though, are a pair of intriguing new photos of Hugo at the opening night of Bell Shakespeare’s production of the John Webster play The Duchess of Malfi, taken this past July 13. They originated at photo galleries at The Daily Telegraph and the Wentworth Courier. John Webster was a Jacobean playwright who wrote dark, revenge-driven phantasmagoric plays a bit after Shakespeare’s time. Hugo starred in an STC adaptation of his The White Devil in 2000. John Bell, founder of Bell Shakespeare, costarred as Serebryakov in STC’s recent, blockbuster production of Uncle Vanya. Which was in rehearsals for its Lincoln Center Festival run when these were taken. This production was mounted at the Sydney Opera House and starred his daughter Lucy Bell. So we’re seeing a trend of acting dynasties in great Australian actors here. 😉


Photo:  Robin Amadio

Hugo and son Harry Greenwood
Photo: Richard Dobson

That second photo will probably make a few of you feel old… sorry about that. I remember when Harry was a little kid scurrying around in photos on the Matrix set. 😉

Another pair of photos from the Torionto International Film Festival premiere of Cloud Atlas have surfaced; alas, even Getty Photo mermbers can’t see these without watermarks unless they pony up. Pity, because they’re wonderful, earthy portraits.

Both: Jeff Vespa/Contour/Getty Images

I did manage to clean this one off a bit, though. 😉 If anyone has clean copies of the other two pics at WireImage of these two actors, please let me know! I do have an account there, but can’t access it. Probably related to my unending computer problems. 😉


Hugo Weaving and Hugh Grant   Photo: Eric Charbonneau/WireImages

And Tom Hanks Online had three more group shots from the September 9 Photo Call which I hadn’t seen:


Rear L to R: Keith David, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, James D’Arcy, Halle Berry, David Gyasi, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant
Front L to R: Susan Sarandon, Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Tom Hanks, Jim Surgess, Zhou Xun

Here’s one of the promotional banners for the film:

Wish I could find a higher-res version, but that’s the best I could do for now. This time Jim Broadbent didn’t make the cut.. somehow Hugh Grant always does, though his roles are smaller. (Yes, that’s Korean Hugh Grant, aka Seer Rhee. You got a problem with that, take it up with Hugh. But I’ll warn you, he said he’s kept all his cannibal gear from the film.) 😉

New Reviews:

Philip Raby, Front Row Films:  “At the risk of inviting hoots of derision, and allowing for the fact that it is not my favourite genre, I firmly believe that Cloud Atlas is the greatest sci fi film of all time. I will explain why…. I don’t often see a film with 1400 people, most of whom have queued for hours to see a new film, and they may be more willing to love it than any old multiplex audience. But the fact is, not one left, we all laughed as well as thrilled, and everyone applauded at the end, including me. I loved the fact that the three directors (Tom Tykwer, Andy and Lana – formerly Larry – Wachowski) have taken on such a huge project and tackled it with verve, wit and panache. There are dazzling digital fight scenes, foot chases, comedy sequences, and binding it all together a system of editing that keeps us engrossed at the same time as keeping us in the loop as to where we are…. OK, so let’s talk about the Greatest Sci Fi Film Ever Made claim. My opening gambit is to ask what are the other contenders. I will deal with the obvious ones. Metropolis? Impressive, but hard work. 2001? Dated and pretentious. Blade Runner? Style over substance, full of rain and angst and Ford trying to look cool. Star Wars? I assume you’re joking. The thing about most sci fi is that it takes itself so seriously. There are two basic sci fi messages. 1. We are all doomed and 2. We are all one. Cloud Atlas tends more to the latter, but rather than heading off down the Terence Malick path of woozy spirituality, CA is a lot of fun.”

(For the record, I disagree with this guy’s assessments of 2001 and Metropolis, which are two of the greatest movies ever made. I do agree with him about the others. Can’t say where I’d place Cloud Atlas in this spectrum until I see it, but by Ray Bradbury’s definition, the entire work (film version or novel) can be categorized as science fiction: scifi isn’t defined primarily by zap guns, future settings or fantastical elements so much as speculation on how technology (and… uh… science) impacts the lives of those unprepared to deal with its ramifications, as well as the choices human beings are forced to make whehn confronted with change. The overarching plot of Cloud Atlas involves civilizations being corrupted and eventually laid waste by human greed and unregulated technological excesses; even in the earliest-dated segments, groups of people are threatened by more advanced societies. So the whole story is science fiction in a classic sense.

Anton Sirius, Ain’t It Cool News: ” The film hops back and forth between each story, gradually teasing out links between them, while also featuring nearly the same cast of actors in each playing sometimes wildly different roles. The result is not the confusing mishmash it might have been: each story and each time period is clearly distinct from each other in look and feel, and thanks to makeup, language and accent there’s never any confusion about who or what you’re seeing on screen…. That, alone, makes Cloud Atlas an impressive achievement, but there’s a lot more going on in it than just some nice plot-juggling. On a certain level it’s also a puzzle movie. Each story shows up as a story in the succeeding time period: the young composer, for instance, finds a torn copy of a book that purports to be a journal of that 1800s ocean voyage, while the aging publisher is sent a manuscript presenting the ’70s investigation as a crime novel. The entire film is also bookended by an old storyteller entertaining children around a fire. Those touches adds a nice bit of uncertainty to the proceedings, creating a smidge of doubt as to whether the stories are supposed to be ‘real’ or merely fictions within the larger fiction. There’s also a fun game of ‘spot the actor’ that goes on once you realize how the casting operates, as the roles of some very recognizable faces are not always obvious…. That uncertainty is actually necessary, because unfortunately the film felt just a little too simplified and straight-forward thematThe film’s strengths more than balance out those missteps though. In terms of cinematography and effects it looks amazing across all six time periods while still always feeling like one movie instead of six different ones, which is even more astounding when you consider the Wachowskis shot three segments and Tykwer shot three using two completely separate crews. The performances are for the most part very good (Jim Broadbent will never let you down, while of the supporting cast Hugh Grant of all people is tremendous) and certainly its themes are worthy ones, even if they get treated a bit shallowly.”

John C., One Movie Five Views: “Many thought that David Mitchell’s 2004 novel Cloud Atlas would be unfilmable, but directors Andy and Lana Wachowski along with Tom Tykwer have proven them wrong with this epic adaptation.  With a top notch cast that includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving and Jim Sturgess among others, the film spans a thousand years as we watch the souls of the characters morph from heroes to villain and how one mistake or act of kindness ripples through generations.  The great cast of actors convincingly play multiple roles and the closing credits are sure to make you gasp as we realize just who played the many different characters with the help of stunning makeup.  At first we have to pay attention see the connections between the stories, allowing the film to play almost like a mystery as it all brilliantly comes together and builds up to something deep and profoundly thought out.  A bold and ambitious piece of filmmaking, Cloud Atlas demands more than one viewing, asking the audience to pay attention but offering a hugely satisfying pay off in return.”

Battle Creek Enquirer: “Imagine Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov writing their own versions of “The Hours,” then consolidating them into a single screenplay. That will give you a vague idea of what to expect from this head-spinning, time-jumping, astoundingly ambitious epic, which casts Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon and Hugo Weaving in multiple roles in stories that unfold in the Pacific Islands in 1894, in 1973 San Francisco, in 2012 London, in 1936 England and in the far future. Based on David Mitchell’s novel, the film speculates that there are links between every era and that one person’s actions, good or bad, can alter the destiny of someone decades later. Reactions were all over the place, with a few proclaiming it a masterpiece and others deeming it a laughable fiasco; amazingly, you can see both points of view. Portions of the movie fall absolutely flat (especially a sequence set in a post-apocalyptic society in which Hanks and Berry have to speak a language that sounds sort of like Shakespearean Hillbilly) while others are exciting, clever and visually arresting. If nothing else, “Cloud Atlas” will certainly prompt some lively post-show conversations.”

Interesting how several critics contend some sequences are better than others, but no one agrees on which ones “don’t work”. 😉

Hilary Butler, Filmoria: “The actors of Cloud Atlas, and there are more than a few, were given the very unique opportunity to play multiple roles within the same movie, as most have some part, no matter how big or small, within every story. Using the stellar make-up and costumes (which will inevitably get an Oscar nod) they were able to transcend race, age and even gender. It must have been a dream come true for them, and some look like they have more than their fair share of fun (case in point, Hugo Weaving). However, Jim Broadbent probably fares best, his main story gathering a rousing applause by the audience at its climax, as he changes characters seamlessly despite the least amount of make-up to hide behind. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are probably the most in focus though, and to be able to act along with the difficult dialect required in their futuristic setting is a feat unto itself. It certainly helps to maintain the devotion to the source material. However, in essence, there is not a bad performance in the large group of actors assembled here…. On that note, it should be said that this review comes from someone that has read the novel, quite recently in fact, and it would be my recommendation to read the book before you see the film. While the jumping around in time can take some getting used to, at least having read the source material you can see where the filmmakers are going. I can understand that without this guidance, the film could be muddled and confusing, a contributing factor, I’m sure, to its few detractors. This is a film that begs to be enjoyed. It’s part art-house, part blockbuster, so doing a bit of research before you enter will ensure you get the most from the movie… It was said that this was a film that would never be able to be made, a vision of how our souls are shaped through time. But, the directors made the impossible, possible. They blend together the stories from different eras and genres with relative ease. Comedy, drama, and sci-fi all exist here in almost perfect harmony. It is, quite simply, a cinematic accomplishment.”

Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage: “Mitchell’s novel is full of lofty insights distilled here in way that aligns tonal similarities together. Imprisonment, escape, action, drama, and comedy exist in each of the six stories, growing stronger alongside their partners’ equally emotive shift. Epiphanies occur simultaneously and yet decades apart. Mankind is always left for dead and yet able to rise to the occasion when necessary. The phrase “the weak are meat and the strong do eat” comes up often and it is very apt when concerning the themes of slavery and power running rampant, but what the strong don’t realize until too late is how the weak won’t stay prone forever. Eventually they’ll have a spark of recognition to act legally, illegally, morally, or amorally. Retribution and justice will be served and the cycle will restart… As such, it’s a brilliant move using the same actors in each component. Alluding to reincarnation, soul transfers, and the like, I never thought the familiar faces hindered the whole once. People in the audience complained about feeling it was like someone was flipping the channels on them, but to me every transition was thematically relevant. We cross between timelines at precise moments to strengthen what came before and what comes next. The emotional impact couldn’t be the same if told linearly. We need the mixed bits and pieces to understand the optimism for the future otherwise hidden beneath the depression and tragedy… There’s more at play than what the surface reveals and you must give into the artifice to let the spectacle consume you and help explain how these souls are passed into new bodies and new lives.  A”

Brandon Wall-Fudge, Sanctuary Review: “Many claimed it as one of the many “unfilmable” literary works. But alas, the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer didn’t listen to naysayers and, for the most part, we should be glad they didn’t… The cast of Cloud Atlas is expansive, but many actors are used for multiple roles.  It may seem like a confusing concept, but seeing as the film is a time jumping tale of intertwining stories, the recurring cast seems perfectly fitting.  With such a large cast, it may be difficult to pinpoint who brings what to the film, but Cloud Atlas certainly has one standout.  Tom Hanks brings the most versatile performance to Cloud Atlas. ..Cloud Atlas has a nice balance of action and story.  The time jumping, genre blending epic works well for the most part, although it does confuse a bit near its start.  Aside from the problems with the CGI, the film does have a fair bit to offer.”

There’s also a brief primer on the novel’s structure ansd themes (and confirmation that Hugo has indeed been cast as Horrox in the Adam Ewing sequence of the film) at Tom McGee’s blog, one of the more enlightened assessments of the casting choices (and why it’s not “a gimmick”) at Kentballs.com, More on Halle Berry’s characters (and some quotes from various TIFF press conferences and interviews) at Books N Review,  a profile of Bae Doona, who has one of the most universally lauded performances in the film as Sonmi-451, and Chosun Ilbo (English),  and a new Susan Sarandon interview with more enthusiasm for Cloud Atlas at Indie Wire.

Finally, as I hinted up front, it’s officially Hobbit Week (according to Peter Jackson, anyhow) and we’ve been treated to another batch of new stills from the first film, including the first image of Sylvester McCoy’s Radagast the Brown, more dwarf action, Gollum and Gandalf. No new Hugo material for awhile now, but we all knew going in that Elrond isn’t a major character in The Hobbit, so we’ll have to wait and see how much supplemental material he’ll get to flesh out in films 2 and three. Go to Empire Online, Screen Rant, Radio Times and (of course) TORN for a look at the new images… there have actually been several batches this month. But the most exciting news is probably that we’ll finally have an official trailer for An Unexpected Journey on September 19, ie in two days, plus “special content for the fans”. (Oooooh!) 😉 (The first trailer was technically a “teaser”, assembled before the film was complete.) Here’s PJ’s announcement… let’s hope we finaly get to see Elrond footage this time around!

New Hugo Weaving Interview on Nurse Noakes, More Cloud Atlas Coverage

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.

Keeping up with all the Cloud Atlas coverage continues to be a full time job. 😉 I apologize for any redundancies in these posts, but I’m trying very hard not to miss anything. By my count we’ve had ten new videos featuring Hugo (counting the press conference and film intro– not counting the various trailers before TIFF) and about a hundred new photos. Duplication in photos usually occurs because I’ve found a larger or higher-quality version of an image previously posted. But it is challenging keeping up with all the new stuff coming it and at the same time keeping a record of everything I’ve already posted. So, again, my apologies for any sloppiness. 😉

The most interesting new item today is an interview Hugo gave to the Sydney Morning Herald family of newspapers discussing his most talked-about Cloud Atlas character, Nurse Noakes. Since it’s relatively short, I’ll share the full text here:

Weaving’s back in drag, but it’s no Priscilla

Date September 13, 2012

Ed Gibbs

Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon speak onstage at the <i>Cloud Atlas</i> press conference n Toronto.

Cloud Atlas stars Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon, pictured at the Toronto International Film Festival. Photo: Getty Images

The world premiere of Cloud Atlas met with a mixed reception, but its star Hugo Weaving isn’t fazed.

IT WAS greeted with a lengthy standing ovation, then just as quickly slammed by critics, following its world premiere at the Toronto International Festival on Sunday night.

Cloud Atlas – the Booker-shortlisted, multi-layered novel that many believed impossible to turn into a film – even has Hugo Weaving donning a women’s fat suit.

Yet the controversial film – a sprawling, multi-story tale of karmic repercussions throughout time and space – also offers its all-star cast, including Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, the chance to have fun and ”play dress-ups”, as actor Jim Broadbent puts it, with its cast playing multiple characters that bizarrely jump gender, race and age.

For Hugo Weaving, Cloud Atlas offered the chance to re-team with two of the film’s three directors, the Wachowski brothers: the duo responsible for The Matrix movies that made him a star. Ten years on, much has changed, though – notably Larry Wachowski, who has since become Lana.

”I don’t think it’s ironic at all,” Weaving says, of the gender-swapping roles the film’s cast has to perform. ”I think there are certain things that Larry – now Lana – is interested in. A lot of them connect up with his – now her – journey. This feeling of being trapped inside a body since the age of nine, feeling like, ‘I’m not this person, I’m actually that person’, I guess whoever we are, there are certain things that we want to express.

”When I first worked with them, in The Matrix days, they’d finish each other’s sentences, or talk together. They’re incredibly tight-knit. Now, they’re more individual, I guess.”

Their new film, co-directed with Run Lola Run‘s Tom Tykwer, takes the viewer on a lengthy, troubled journey, from the South Pacific of the 18th century through to a post-apocalyptic future rife with warring factions and cannibalism. Weaving’s other characters in the film include a Machiavellian figure named Georgie and Bill Smoke, an authority figure reminiscent of his Agent Smith character in The Matrix. Playing a nurse, though, was more extreme than even he could have imagined.

”The prosthetics came in at a very late stage, so I spent a lot of time in my fat suit just trying to get used to it,” Weaving says of Nurse Noakes, a fearsomely full figure far removed from Mitzi Del Bra, his drag persona in Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert. ”Whenever I look at it, I’m still uneasy about it.”

Weaving joins a substantial number of Australians in Toronto, where local cinema has been enjoying its biggest showing in years. … Cloud Atlas, meanwhile, will have a release in Australia early next year, and joins a string of films that have generated Oscar buzz at the festival – an event that provides early indicators for award favourites. “

CJ again… actually, after a spate of early, negative reviews, Cloud Atlas has settled into a healthy mid-70s Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Obviously a film this ambitious and heart-on-sleeve will always have its detractors, but they’re now a minority.

There’s also an interesting profile of Philip Lee, one of the film’s producers, at The Wall Street Journal. He discusses the filmmakers’ goals and the independent financing of the project.

Speaking of which, I’m don’t want to re-address the specious Identity Politics/PC tirades against the film– mostly by pseudointellectual grad school cranks who haven’t seen it. I’ve already said my peace on that issue. And my piece. 😉 But I will note that the film was funded in large part by Asian companies and that it’s most revolutionary, inspiring characters are played by Asian actresses. It’s not a “Hollywood” film and was not cast the way it was for commercial reasons. None of the cross-racial acting is stereotypical or demeaning and– duh, people– the film’s entire message is about interconnectedness and an appeal against oppression, racism and intolerance. Jim Sturgess plays a Korean character in one story while Bae Doona plays a (white) American in another– in both, their characters are lovers. This is in complete opposition to early Hollywood casting which used white actors as Asians, etc to avoid inter-racial romance. No one seems to be complaining about the Asian and African American actors playing cross-racial roles– more evidence the larger point is being missed.

And I’ll direct your attention to the Press Conference video, in which pretty much every actor (of every race) said their favorite character was one of a different race than his/her own. See, that’s why it’s called acting. Empathy and imagination is required. Intentions do matter and deserve respect. And Hugo Weaving’s Korean character (a thusfar unnamed executioner/government figure) figures in the plot for about two minutes. So stop slagging on him and Jim Sturgess over this issue. In doing so, you betray the very intolerance you accuse others of. Also, your ad hominem attacks and bad insult comedy are the sort of tactics right-wing hatemongers routinely resort to. One thing the identity politics and right-wing extremists share is an overweening self-righteousness combined with an utter lack of a sense of humor. The response to Sturgess’s whimsical, non-inflammatory tweets (themselves responses to the PC crowd’s venomous personal attacks and use of inappropriate, loaded terms like “yellowface”) demonstrate this.

But enough of that. I have confidence the voices of negativity will soon be drowned out. 😉 There are many places to see red carpet/press conference photos, including The Torontoist, BroadwayWorld.com, IMDb, Toronto Life and The Grid… I’ll add all those of Hugo I find amid the press links and review quotes as per usual.


Higher-res version of George Pimentel/Getty Images photo, via IMDb


Finally Hugo made one of the posters! Alas, only the German version so far. The US and novel tie-in artwork features Susan Sarandon’s Abbess instead.

Cloud Atlas wil have its US premiere at the New Yorker Festival on 6 October. The directors will be in attendance, but probably not the full cast. More details at the New York Times Artsbeat… tickets go on sale this Friday, and aren’t cheap, but I’m still trying to fiure out a way to go. 😉

HitFix weighs the film’s chances for Oscar nominations… I’m skeptical it will attract more than technical nominations because truly audacious, challenging films are rarely rewarded in this way when they first come out. The Academy prefers to play it safe. I do think numerous technical nods are possible and would love to watch the negative critics and PC snark-mongers get their knickers in a twist if it’s nominated for Best Makeup. 😉 Speaking of makeup, Vulture highlights their picks for the most effective/surprising character transformations.

Sean, Film Junk: “The one creative decision that will probably be the most divisive among viewers is the choice to have the same actors playing a different role in each storyline, often with very extreme forms of make-up and special effects applied to make them blend in… I think the thematic value justifies these peculiarities, but others might not agree…. That being said, the ensemble cast is up to the task of playing multiple roles and seem to be having a lot of fun with it. Hugo Weaving is called upon to play a villain in almost every time period as per usual, even if it means dressing in drag as Nurse Noakes. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are both solid in the film, and they manage to sell some of the more outlandish concepts such as the weird language of the post-apocalyptic time period. Overall, I can’t think of a single weak link in the cast…. Viewers looking for a single moment to tie everything together will be left scratching their heads, but the good news is that at no point is it overwhelming or incoherent. The various spiritual and religious themes are also never explicitly stated although they are certainly there if you care to delve into them. It helps that the movie has its fair share of humour, which keeps it from feeling too stuffy and pretentious… [I]f you’re a serious fan of cinema, this is a movie that you need to see. You may not love it, but the pure ambition and storytelling skill on display is simply incredible and will not soon be forgotten.” (Four Stars)

Sean O’Connell, CinemaBlend: “While I’m not whole-heartedly in love with Atlas (though the sentimental chords finally struck in the sprawling film’s closing minutes did touch me, deeply), I am in love with the creative effort and bravura filmmaking that infuses every single scene. It is an ambitious work of art, and one that should be appreciated outside of the festival circuit, when audiences have time to digest a meal such as this and not wash it down with a swig of water before dashing to the next screening.”

Tim Robey, The Telegraph: “Complaints that it’s all just one big congested barrel-load of kitschy genre clichés may come at the picture thick and fast – just wait – but Mitchell’s whole project was pastiching literary formulae to play with the hand-me-down nature of storytelling, so the Wachowskis and Tykwer surely deserve a pass on this. There’s plenty to argue with, more to scoff at, and some uninitiated viewers may well choose to check out of engagement early. But it’s also a dizzily generous ride, scored with real grandeur, and even its silliest elements are guilty pleasures.”


Hugo at the TIFF Red Carpet Premiere of Cloud Atlas, 8 September 2012. Photos (2) Walter McBride/BroadwayWorld.com


Cloud Atlas cast photo call 9 September 2012  Photo: The Grid

Thom Ernst, Toro Magazine: “Cloud Atlas is all over the map that probably doesn’t make as much sense as its makers intended. But never mind trying to catch a thread to link the multiple, century-spanning stories together – Cloud Atlas is a visual pleasure with great performances in multiple roles (most notably an unrecognizable Tom Hanks as, among others, a volatile mobster-punk author)…”

Kaleem Aftab, The Independent: “A bold, ambitious and fun attempt to adapt David Mitchell’s time-jumping novel, Cloud Atlas is a return to form for the Wachowskis. The novel contains the same big idea that commonly crops up in the Wachowski oeuvre, whether as director or producers, that humans should look beyond the physical realm and understand that space and time are malleable…. The common theme is that each tale is about a search for liberty and truth. The big difference from the novel is in the structure. While the book tells each story consecutively and then as stories within stories, the movie crisscrosses the tales jumping through space and time at will…. Part of the fun of this movie adaptation is trying to work out what star name is under the make-up… Ultimately, this is a film about ideas rather than plot. It’s a tricky marriage between blockbuster action and textbook philosophy….Although the space opera is occasionally bumpy and disorientating, the end result is intoxicating.”

Fred Topel, Crave Online: “The filmmakers (Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer) do a brilliant job introducing each of the stories. It may seem like a series of vignettes at first, but once each story is established, there’s real momentum to each one and it’s relentless. The editing balances each one with a fine pace, so I even liked the cross cutting, a technique I usually hate but it serves this one. I was just as wrapped up in the server’s futuristic breakout as the reporter’s escape from modern danger as the editor’s escape from a retirement home as the climb up the devil’s mountain. It’s breathless… I don’t know if it matters that the same actors appear in each story, but it’s awesome. Why not have fun with this sprawling a story?… Perhaps most revealing is that there can be so little connection between the same actor in a different role, rather than providing a throughline. Hanks’ author character seems a lark to reward him for being so serious in the other stories. Hugh Grant is really only recognizable once as the corrupt nuclear exec in the 1979 story. I couldn’t believe who he played in the tribal future story. Hugo Weaving seems to end up a villain in most of the stories, but he’s awesome. Sturridge, Wishaw and Broadbent often show up in funny supporting roles, and Bae changes ethnicities in one role…. It’s beautifully filmed, no surprise. It’s just so uncommercial, I think we should be grateful that Warner Brothers let this movie exist.”

Roger Friedman, Showbiz 411: “The movie spectacle will be nominated for Best Make Up and Costume Design next winter just for its audiaciousness… “Cloud Atlas” has a lot of dots to connect and may take a while to figure it all out. But it’s beautifully made. And its separate pieces are invidiually well told, with lots of character development and beginnings, middles and ends. So it’s quite possible to enjoy the pieces even if you can’t quite grasp the whole… Of course, the basic notion of David Mitchell’s novel, and now the Wachowskis’ movie, is that we are all connected, through time, generations, karma, and space. It’s very new-agey, but not in a precisely preachy way. Even when the concrete connections between the stories is unclear, the vibe is always right. And it’s never boring. The Ws keep the action moving briskly. Trust me, you can’t fall asleep in this movie even if you wanted to.”


Karen Liu/ The Grid


Toronto Online (Hugo with James D’Arcy… amazing how well they got on after certain incidents in the film) 😉

Thom Ernst, Saturday Night at The Movies: “Tom Hanks is everywhere in ‘Cloud Atlas’. So is Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant. The trick is to recognize them in their multi-character, heavily disguised roles. It’s a gimmick, but it’s also a great deal of fun. …Enjoy the film for it’s endless creativity and visual surprises.  Don’t worry if you can’t follow the plot – if you need to know what just happened, read the book. Tykwer and the Wachowskis won’t mind.”

Katey Rich, CinemaBlend: “I’m having a hard time getting anything done until I get Cloud Atlas– my most anticipated film of the festival by far– out of my brain. So here we go…. This big, ambitious, gorgeous, glorious film demands that its audience walk in as open-hearted as it is; it’s going to take you to some hippy-dippy, love-is-all-around-you places, and skeptics who choose to reject that will be in for a long two and a half hours. But directors Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer also make the choice to run along with it an easy one, filling the screen with gorgeous locations and effects, casting a huge slate of fantastic actors in some almost absurdly challenging parts, and even expanding and reshaping David Mitchell’s original novel into a tale that’s about, well, nearly everything. Some of it is the dreamy philosophy you might be expecting– love is the most important thing, we are all connected– but much of it is surprisingly incisive and even radical. By abandoning the nested structure of Mitchell’s novel, in which each story was told in two individual sections, and layering them on top of each other instead, the Wachowskis and Tykwer have created a moving synchronicity between all of them, powerfully making the case for common pursuits and motivations and desires among humans over time… They also accomplish this, as you might have heard, by casting all the actors in multiple roles.. It makes for a fun kind of Where’s Waldo? game, as you scrutinize each new character’s face to figure out which actor has returned, but it resonates with the many themes of how humanity both improves and repeats its own mistakes across the centuries… I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of what there is to say about Cloud Atlas, about the ideas and emotions it inspired in me, about the best scenes, or even about how Korean actress Doona Bae runs rings around every famous person in the movie with her performance as the defiant clone Sonmi-451… Cloud Atlas and its ambition and its enormous heart are still jangling through my veins, almost too close to quite understand just yet. I can’t wait for you all to see it so we can talk about it some more.”

Trevor Hogg, Flickering Myth: “Unlike with their previous films, the Wachowskis collaborated with another filmmaker, Tom Tykwer (Perfume) and to their credit a uniformed look is achieved. The boundaries of production design and visual effects are pushed to create fully realized worlds whether in the past, present or the future… Sound effects and dialogue combined with brisk crosscutting result in seamless transitions from scenes and storylines adding to the sense of interconnection. The sheer ambition and scope of the cinematic adaptation is impressive and completely realized on the big screen. Working against Cloud Atlas at the box office is that it requires multiple viewings to understand as well as includes some gruesome subject matter; however, over time the epic may well grow in popularity.”

Owen Gleibman, Entertainment Weekly: “I can honestly say that virtually everything I heard about the movie made me think that I wouldn’t like it at all… It sounded like a pile-up of pretension, a hyper-mystical jumble — and, frankly, coming from the Wachowskis, it sounded like the worst “cosmic” aspects of the two Matrix sequels compounded and inflated… So the first thing I want to say about Cloud Atlas is that it’s a nimbly entertaining and light-on-its-feet movie. Adapting the 2004 novel by British author David Mitchell, the Wachowskis tell half a dozen stories at once, but that doesn’t mean the film is a mish-mash. It’s more like a gonzo mini-series made with a sophisticated channel-zapper consciousness — an invitation to go wherever the Wachowskis want to take you, with the trust that they know just what they’re doing. Each of the stories writes its own rules and unfolds in its own madly detailed and organic world. And as the movie goes on, the worlds fuse across time. Cloud Atlas isn’t a chaos; it’s more like the history of movies crammed into a single, emotionally transporting parable of freedom and authoritarian control… The multiple-role casting, and the bravura makeup that makes it possible (it includes not just flipped genders but switched racial roles), is so clever and imaginative that it’s more than a gimmick — it’s closer to a burlesque of identity… Cloud Atlas is an original vision, but in a funny way it’s also a wildly overstuffed smorgasbord that seems to be wearing the entire history of Hollywood genre movies on its sleeve.”

Chris Spicer, Fanboy Comics: “The acting is uniformly good across the board. Hanks hasn’t been this good in a long time, and I was especially entertained by his brief turn in the fourth story as a loutish street thug whose tell-all memoir gets savagely reviewed. Hanks seems to be having a ball subverting his Jimmy Stewart-esque persona. I’m a Broadbent fan from way back, and he’s especially good in the fourth story, which allows him to take center stage. Halle Berry’s big story is the third one, and she does sturdy, reliable work here. Hugo Weaving plays a riff on Nurse Ratched and also turns up in the last story as a Satan-like creature that looks a lot like the villain from The Princess and the Frog, who was voiced by Keith David, who also turns up in Cloud Atlas in multiple roles. Hugh Grant, James D’Arcy, Susan Sarandon, and Ben Whishaw (the once and future Q) round out the great cast… Cloud Atlas has its flaws, but I liked it a lot and it’s an extremely ambitious movie. And, for those of us who are film fans, a big movie with big ideas swinging for the fences is very much worth your time.”


Hugo Weaving as Bill Smoke, on the Cloud Atlas Glagow set 18 September 2011

Brian Owens, Naff Insights: “It’s a movie I fell in love with in spite of its self. And it honestly just keeps getting better in my head (the emotional response I had to the trailer just now being proof). As far as plot goes, it would be nearly impossible to describe, but the line from Susan Sarandon in the trailer sums it up nicely: Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime, and every kindness, we birth our future… Cloud Atlas has something that is lacking in many Hollywood films (although Germany is the lead producing nation on this pic) – ambition. The Wachowski Siblings and Tykwer are aiming higher than most would ever attempt to in epic storytelling, philosophy, and they reach for a science fiction that does what science fiction should do: tell us about who we are as a species today…It’s all a little too self-serious and the framing device should be excised completely (at 2 hours and 43 minutes, they could stand to chop a bit and this does nothing for the story), but I’ll be damned if Cloud Atlas isn’t just a great old-fashioned let’s go to the movies good time.”

Sean Minogue: “The film is not perfect – there are lots of instances of the filmmakers being “cute” that I didn’t appreciate, the makeup is clunky at times, and the thematic messaging is heavy-handed for American audiences. And yes, the book is better. The success of Cloud Atlasthe film is in the editing and (most of) the performances. Co-editors Alexander Berner and Claus Wehlisch are operating on Inception levels here. I wouldn’t be surprised if they get nominated for their work. The action sequences a la Wachowski are pretty decent as well. But most importantly, the film has got some heart and doesn’t take itself so seriously that the human quality of Mitchell’s characters is wiped out.”

Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette.com: “Overheard: “I have no idea what it was about, but I loved it” – a man talking about “Cloud Atlas,” the 163-minute movie from Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski… I saw “Cloud Atlas” this morning (starting at 8:45 a.m.) and it is the most ambitious, risky, grand project I’ve seen in years. Several of the actors, notably Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, and Jim Sturgess, play a half-dozen roles each and the makeup is easily Oscar-worthy with changes in gender and race along with noses, teeth, hair and skin color and texture…I haven’t read the 2004 David Mitchell source novel which was a complex structure of six narratives written in different styles, which meant I was a bit lost in space at times, but it ultimately didn’t seem to matter. It’s dazzling although not necessarily as satisfying as some other movies but its themes are universal and big, including the desire for freedom and notion that ‘from womb to tomb, we are bound to others,’ past and present.”

Atlantic City Weekly: “I was surprised how much I enjoyed Cloud Atlas, the amazing new trippy science-fiction epic from directors Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and Lana and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix). I was concerned since the Wachowski siblings hadn’t really made a good film since The Matrix. Based on the novel of the same name, the film stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant. In the tradition of the 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, the actors play multiple characters in elaborate makeup in six different story lines that travel back and forth in time. The deeper we go, the more these different threads wind together into a tale of humanity’s flaws and the search for meaning in the universe. It is a lot funnier (in a good way) then the summation suggests. Funniest movie moment of 2012 to date involves a sexual liaison and a cat. Cloud Atlas joins Silver Linings Playbook as my two favorite films at the festival.”

Marshall Fine, Huffington Post: “You can have The Master — give me something as multi-layered and chewy as Cloud Atlas any day. As the stories break in on each other, the trio of directors create a variety of resonances that echo forward and backward in time, finding themes of questioning authority, seeking personal freedom and the constant struggle to outlive the kind of greedy human errors we seem to make over and over throughout history… It is bound to be as controversial as The Master — but is more accessible and more involving. Hanks, along with Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant and a handful of other actors, bring each of these stories to vigorous life. The directors put the various pieces of the puzzle into play, then bring it all home in the final hour of the film’s 165-minute running time… Is it challenging? Absolutely. And yet it pays off emotionally and intellectually in ways that few movies with this much ambition ever do. It’s easy to mock the feelings it evokes, but that’s a shallow reading of a much deeper film. Cloud Atlas is one of the best films I’ve seen this year and one of the most satisfying.”

I have a feeling this isn’t remotely the end of it either. 😉 More soon…

More Cloud Atlas Coverage, Video, Pics

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. 😉

Cloud Atlas Press Conference

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.

I've had a major browser error that's taken a lot of my saved work with it… I'm scrambling to reconstruct everything. Of course, this snafu made me miss the live press conference featuring the Cloud Atlas cast. But I'll keep doing the best I can to keep up with the onslaught of new coverage. Fortunately the TIFF folks were kind enough to post this in full. I also have some new photos I'm trying to prep. Your patience is much appreciated. 😉

Yes, I suspect I'm going to enjoy watching Hugo play Old Georgie for the same reasons he enjoyed playing him… messin' with Hanks. 😉 More very soon

After all the effortless (if exhausting) data gathering yesterday, today has been nothing but a nightmare… four months of data, including all my saved Cloud Atlas material, was eaten up after a broswer glitch and attempted repair/system restore… I'll ironically have to reconstruct everything from tweets and LJ updates now. (But I've always said the fandom is one's best backup.) Instead of merely updating and organizing, I now probably have a major project ahead of me, in addition to the Flickr Archive update I ALSO have no spare time for. 😉 So… sorry I'm not keeping up today… I will try and sort out what's been posted and what hasn't and keep updating as I can. But these new photos of the Cloud Atlas press conference earlier today are a nice enough distraction to keep me from chucking my computer out the nearest window. 😉


Cloud Atlas photo call 9 September 2012.
 (L-R) Actor Susan Sarandon, director Tom Tykwer, actor Keith David, director Lana Wachowski, actor Jim Broadbent, director Andy Wachowski, actors Hugo Weaving, Tom Hanks, James D'arcy, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, David Gyasi, Zhou Xun, Ben Whishaw and Hugh Grant attend 'Cloud Atlas' Photo Call during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 9, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Next three photos: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)


Cloud Atlas TIFF press conference 9 September 2012– full video feed above
(Next 12 photos: Jemal Countess/Getty Images)


Next five photos: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Some photos of Hugo and Katrina from last night's premiere party (still trying to access my WENN UK account for unwatermarked versions, but I've been sidetracked by all this data loss nonsense… will add better versions as i find 'em)


(all three: Eric Charbonneau/WireImage)

Cloud Atlas portraits: Photos by Matt Carr/Getty Entertainment (5)

More to come!