David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
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.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
Hopefully by now your DVRs have recovered from all the use they got during the whirlwind of May finales, so now all that's left to do is sit back, and wait for fall (because, let's face it, summer TV shows really just can't compare). And while the next few months are sure to be somewhat grueling, dedicated TV junkies can take comfort in knowing we don't have to completely go cold turkey.
The big networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW) have graciously released several trailers for upcoming pilots, giving viewers a taste of what's to come next fall. So just in case you missed a few during the Upfronts craze a few weeks back, Hollywood.com has provided a variety of must-see clips from the various networks to help determine which shows you plan on tuning in for when fall premiere season comes around. So without further ado...
The series is an upcoming American musical drama, starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, who play two country singers looking to pursue their dreams in the music business.
The show follows the story of the crew of a rogue nuclear submarine and features an all-star cast that includes Andre Braugher, Bruce Davison, The OC's Autumn Reeser and Felicity's Scott Speedman.
666 Park Avenue
This show looks to be a supernatural freakout that stars Lost alum Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams as a devilish married couple.
Next: More ABC Fall Pilots.
The half-hour show will center on Reba McEntire's character, who moves from Nashville to Malibu, Calif. in an attempt to resurrect her music career, after discovering her rock-star husband was cheating on her.
In hopes of providing a better life for his wife and three kids, Marty (played by Lenny Venito) move out to a New Jersey gated community called Hidden Hills, where they realize that their neighbors are...well...a little different.
How to Life with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)
In case you couldn't tell by the title alone, this new comedy stars Sarah Chalke as a single mom who moves back in with mom and dad...possibly forever.
This show will follow the story of Jack Shea (Kyle Bornheimer) who puts his own dreams on hold in order to take over his family's handyman business from his father.
The series stars Radha Mitchell as Marta Walraven, a housewife from Northern California, who must continue her deceased husband's work in organized crime in order to protect her family.
This show will revolve around White Vincent (Michael Nyqvist), the editor of a skeptics magazine, as he's pulled into one of the most compelling conspiracies in human history.
Love has never been so complicated...
Next: NBC Fall Pilots.
The New Normal
Ryan Murphy serves up a brand new comedy that centers around two gay dads and a baby mama. Oh yeah, this one's a must-see.
Matthew Perry will star as a cheeky sportscaster who tries to move on from loss and finds comfort from the members of his mandatory group-therapy sessions. Could we BE anymore excited?
Justin Kirk stars as Dr. George Coleman, an animal-loving veterinarian who despises the pet owners.
The series picks up 15 years after the world loses all different forms of electricity (TVs, phones, lights, planes, what have you) and shows you how humans have adjusted. But the big question still remains: why did this happen?
Guys With Kids
This show, created by Jimmy Fallon, stars Anthony Anderson, Jesse Bradford, Zach Cregger as three thirty-something-year-old men who must deal with being fathers despite having not grown-up yet themselves.
Next: CBS Fall Pilots.
This show is a period drama which takes place in the 1960s and is based on the true story of Ralph Lamb — a rodeo cowboy-turned-longtime Sheriff of Las Vegas. Giddy-up!
The series follows the story of two best friends, Charlie (David Krumholtz) and Louis (Michael Urie), whose friendship seems to reflect that of a weird married couple. Plus, it comes from the creators of Will & Grace.
Made In Jersey
Starring Janet Montgomery, this legal drama centers around a working-class woman who uses her street smarts to compete with her colleagues at a top New York law firm.
This show is a contemporary take on Sherlock Holmes (played by Jonny Lee Miller) and his partner Watson, who's now a lady and played by Lucy Liu.
Next: FOX Fall Pilots.
The Mob Doctor
Former My Boys star Jordana Spiro is heading back to Chicago for this mob drama as a young thoracic surgeon who’s forced to juggle her career and her life-long debt to the South Chicago mob.
Kevin Bacon stars as an ex-FBI agent, Ryan Hardy, who’s hot on the trail of a master serial killer (James Purefoy), who has created a cult of serial killers which must also be stopped.
The Mindy Kaling Project
This show stars Mindy Kaling as an unlucky-in-love doctor, dealing with the daily work-life balance. It's probably no Office, but it might just be the next best thing.
Ben & Kate
The story mostly focuses on the relationship between two siblings: Ben (Nat Faxon) and Kate (Dakota Johnson), who happen to be polar opposites (think freewheeling brother meets uptight sister).
The Goodwin Games
The comedy stars Becki Newton (of Ugly Betty fame) and Scott Foley (of Felicity) as a brother and sister whose father left his fortune to them under some (presumably) steep terms.
Next: CW Fall Pilots.
The Carrie Diaries
AnnaSophia Robb will star as New York's most popular fictional style-icon, Carrie Bradshaw, who struggles with everyday teenage life in Connecticut -- until she meets her "first love", Manhattan.
Stephen Amell stars as Oliver Queen, who is just your average, everyday billionaire playboy until he survives a violent shipwreck and re-emerges as The Green Arrow.
Beauty and the Beast
This will be a contemporary reboot of the 1980s series, starring Smallville's Kristin Kreuck as Detective Catherine Chandler, and Jay Ryan as Vincent — a presumed-dead doctor who gets a little beastly when he's mad.
Former Vampire Diaries star Matt Davis will play an investigative reporter Jeff Sefton, who goes from a no-nonsense blogger to a full-out investigator when his brother mysteriously goes missing.
Mamie Gummer (you've probably heard of her mother, Meryl Streep) will star as Emily Barnes, a fresh out of med school intern at Denver Memorial Hospital, who soon learns that hospital life is remarkably similar to high school — where she was a certified nerd.
2012 Fall TV Pilots
Networks! Which Shows Are Canceled, Renewed, and Endangered?
The CW Says Goodbye To Ringer and Secret Circle, Hello To Carrie And More
Fox's 2012 Series Pickups: Kevin Bacon, Mindy Kaling, and the Mob
UPDATE: Today is a sad day for many CW fans, as two of its "on the bubble" shows were officially given the axe. It's time to say goodbye to Sarah Michelle Gellar's post-Buffy effort, Ringer, and The Vampire Diaries' Thursday night companion, The Secret Circle. Secret Circle was finally starting to pick up some steam, but CW had to make room for its five -- yes, five -- drama series pick-ups.
So, who will be joining The Vampire Diaries, 90210, Gossip Girl, Nikita, Supernatural, and Hart of Dixie next fall? Hollywood.com has all your details below:
The Carrie Diaries Starring AnnaSophia Robb
Have you ever wondered what Carrie Bradshaw was wearing back in 1984? If so, here's your chance to find out. Robb will star as New York's most popular fictional style-icon, who struggles with everyday teenage life in Connecticut -- until she meets her "first love", Manhattan. The show will also star Switched At Birth's Austin Butler and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World's Ellen Wong. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage of Gossip Girl fame are set to executive produce, along with Len Goldstein and author Candace Bushnell.
Arrow Starring Stephen Amell
Fans of the dearly departed Smallville will now have another DC Comics superhero to root for. Amell stars as Oliver Queen, who is just your average, everyday billionaire playboy until he survives a violent shipwreck and re-emerges as The Green Arrow. The series will also star Katie Cassidy, who recently starred in The CW's failed Melrose Place reboot, and who is also known as that girl who dies in every horror movie.
Beauty And The Beast Starring Kristin Kreuck
Beauty and the Beast will be a contemporary reboot of the 1980s series, which starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. This time around, Smallville's Kreuck will star as Detective Catherine Chandler, and Jay Ryan will play Vincent -- a presumed-dead doctor who gets a little beastly when he's mad. It's a tale as old as time.
Cult Starring Matt Davis
Fans of The Vampire Diaries' very recently departed Alaric will be happy to know that he's coming back next season: As investigative reporter Jeff Sefton, on a completely different show. Jeff is a previously no-nonsense blogger who changes his tune when his brother goes missing. The likely culprit is somehow involved with the mysterious TV series "Cult", but the only one who believes him is one of the show's assistants, Skye (Jessica Lucas, also of Melrose-reboot fame). It would seem that fans of the show have become completely obsessed, and are re-creating its crimes in the real world. Digging into weird fan culture is always a good time, so we're looking forward to this one.
First Cut Starring Mamie Gummer
Gummer will star as Emily Barnes, a fresh out of med school intern at Denver Memorial Hospital. Barnes has stars in her eyes and hope in her heart, but she soon learns that hospital life is remarkably similar to high school -- where she was a certified nerd. Emily will have to navigate her way through the hospital's vicious cliques, while actual lives hang in the balance. Justin Hartley, who coincidentally played Green Arrow on Smallville, and Heroes' Jack Coleman also star.
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
'Parks and Rec', 'The Offce', 'Up All Night Renewed by NBC
'Happy Endings' Renewed For Season Three
Networks! Which Shows Are Canceled, Renewed, and Endangered?
S1E12: On the latest episode of Ringer, someone new arrives in town to create even more drama and chaos for Bridget's ever-complicated life...or lives I should say, given that she's still trying to juggle two different identities. Still, the show is getting a little carried away with the whole "stolen identity" idea. Seriously, you have to really be concentrating to keep up with it all, which can be exciting, but also tiresome. You don't want to confuse your viewers too much or they'll give up out of sheer frustration. So put on your thinking caps everyone because tonight was basically a huge game of Guess Who. Let's try to figure it all out together, shall we?
"What is your problem, Siobhan? After all, this was my tub first." - Catherine
Let's start off with tonight's surprise guest. In light of the whole Mr. Carpenter situation, Juliet's mother shows up for support, but all she really does is cause an excess of family drama. Clearly, she has some unresolved anger issues toward Siobhan and Andrew for having an affair while he was still married, so she takes it upon herself to thoroughly overstay her welcome. But the drama really escalates when Juliet's principal shows up with a disc showing Juliet willingly messing around with Mr. Carpenter in the hallway, making her alleged rape accusation seem entirely less credible. And although Juliet swears that she had a change of heart and told him to stop, Catherine doesn't believe her and drunkenly starts burning her baby pictures as a way to mourn the death of her daughter, the slut. Nice mothering, right?
So thanks to the disc, Juliet feels she can no longer press charges against Mr. Carpenter (does he not have a first name?). However, later on Tessa -- a former school enemy -- shows up at the penthouse and confesses that she had been raped by him too and pleads for her to still take the matter to court. It looks like Juliet was telling the truth after all. But does anyone else feel like Andrew is not properly upset over this whole thing? He's a father; he should be furious that a man attacked his little girl, but I'm just not feeling much rage from him. Is it just me?
"I never stopped loving you, not for a second." - Siobhan
Now on to the whole Bridget-Siobhan ordeal. Siobhan is trying her best to get a fake passport together in order to return to Paris, so she pawns the diamond ring she stole from Bridget to get some extra cash to make it happen. However, it doesn't go as smoothly as Siobhan would hope. Bridget is still obsessed with finding out more about the Paris hotel she found written in Charlie's old apartment, believing it's connected to her sister. She calls the hotel to find out the dates of Siobhan's last stay there, but hits a dead end, aside from learning her sister had used her go-to pseudonym: Cora Pharell. But Bridget isn't about to give up yet; she calls Andrew's assistant to see if she knows anything about the hotel dates, and she doesn't. She does, however, mention that Andrew would be going to Paris in a few weeks to meet up with Tyler -- yes, Siobhan's Tyler. (Remember how he mistook Bridget for Siobhan at a business dinner with Andrew earlier on in the season and even called her Cora?) Bridget remembers the run-in right away and decides to immediately give him a call to figure out how he fits into all of this scrambled chaos. Of course, he thinks she's the real Siobhan and asks her if she met up with her guy Solomon yet. Before Bridget can learn more about it she has to hang up because Andrew walks in (talk about bad timing). This prompts Tyler to immediately call the real Siobhan back on her cell, who quickly realizes that Bridget is getting close to finding her out -- and thus making her secret alias unsafe.
"Why did you kill Gemma?" - Henry Now that Siobhan knows she can't use her alias, she meets up with her fake passport provider and tells him she needs an entirely new passport with the name Rebecca Sheldrake. After their little rendezvous, she carelessly throws the Cora passport into the trash where it's picked up by Henry, who has been tailing her all day. When he meets up with Siobhan later that day, he confidently calls her out as being Bridget. He saw her pawn off the ring earlier that day and thought the fake passport was her way to get out of town fast. It all makes sense from his standpoint up until the part where he accuses her of killing Gemma because what would be Bridget's motive in doing that? But details like that are just conversation starters amid all these twists and turns of Who Dunnit and Agent Machado shows up to haul her in for questioning (because apparently Henry called him). It sounds like a genius double-cross, right? Well, it would be except for the fact that this girl is actually Siobhan, and she has the fingerprints to prove it. Once again, Siobhan manages to weasel her way out of a pretty sticky situation. But she's still got her sister to worry about. Before leaving, Catherine mentions to Bridget that she knew about the love letters she and Andrew used to write to each other during their affair. She also mentions that they would jumble words around in the notes as a code to say where they would meet up next. This got Bridget thinking that maybe this guy "Solomon" is another word jumble too, since he was nowhere to be found in Siobhan's address book. Sure enough, she finds a name that matches and makes a call to meet up for "the usual" in an hour. Upon meeting, Bridget learns that Siobhan went to Wyoming nine months ago, which is where Bridget used to live. Siobhan had told Bridget she had learned of her whereabouts because of the trial, but now it seems she was keeping tabs on her long before that. But why? Bridget is determined now more than ever to find out. "I'm still pregnant with our child." - Siobhan But the show couldn't end before it left us with one of its infamous cliff-hangers. Siobhan once again meets up with Henry outside the penthouse building where she's promising to show him something that will help clear things up. And sure enough, Bridget exits a vehicle a few minutes later, proving to Henry that Bridget is impersonating Siobhan and that the real Siobhan is the one standing next to him. She also drops the bombshell on him that she's still pregnant with their child. Talk about information overload. So now that he knows the truth, what will he do with this information? So what did you think of tonight's episode? Did you find it a little too confusing to fully comprehend everything or do you like all the fast-paced action? Can Siobhan really trust Henry to not exploit her secret? Sound off in the comments below!
Sarah Michelle Gellar may have a loving husband, an adorable 2 year-old daughter, and a promising television career, but that doesn't mean her life is without problems. In fact, her troubles keep staring her right in the face...literally. The actress reveals in the October issue of Health magazine that she's not always confident in her own skin. The Ringer star admits, "I totally have body dysmorphic disorder. I think most women do. I just have to remember that I'm human, and I'm a mom. Being a parent changes the vanity at least a little bit." Apparently not that much though, since it still seems to be bothering her. For all of us who didn't go to medical school, body dysmorphic disorder is a disease in which a person becomes obsessed with an imagined flaw in his or her appearance. Let the eye rolling begin.
While she's not completely satisfied with her appearance, Gellar says that she would never use a photo of another actress' body for inspiration, stating, "I would never do that to myself, especially because I'm aware of the airbrushing and trainers and food programs. You have to use yourself as inspiration." This sounds suspiciously like one of the 12 steps that would be included in a learning to love yourself program if you ask me. But if she had to select someone who represented the ideal image of beauty and health, she would pick Duchess Catherine or Pippa Middleton.
Alright, everyone is allowed to be self conscious from time to time. As human beings we are flawed and programed to never be satisfied with our looks, possessions, etc. That's fine and I can understand that, but this is just taking it a little bit too far. She's obsessing over imagined flaws in herself. Imagined...as in they don't even exist, so it just seems like a waste in energy. Plus, she's a celebrity and has been for many, many years. She knows that you have to meet an attractiveness quota before Hollywood grants you entrance into their industry with all the other beautiful people. I'm not falling for the pity party (aka fishing for compliments soiree) -- she's gorgeous and she knows it.
Click on the image below for more photos of Sarah Michelle Gellar!