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.
The funnyman won the top acting award trophy for his performance in Broadway show One Man, Two Guvnors, which scooped a total of three honours.
Corden told the crowd, "I am only one of 12 actors in our play. Without any of them it just wouldn't work. Being onstage with them is a joy."
Broadway romance Once was the evening's biggest success after landing four Drama Desk Awards, including the win for best musical.
The Drama Desk Awards, which celebrate shows both on and off-Broadway, also recognised Once for best orchestration, direction and lyrics at a Manhattan gala awards ceremony, co-hosted by Brooke Shields and Brian d'Arcy James.
The haul was a welcome boost for Once ahead of this month's (Jun12) Tony Awards, where it has been nominated in 11 categories.
Smash, NBC's busted love letter to Broadway, should know a thing or two about hate watching. Tons of people tuned into this show because we loved to hate it. It was wildly inconsistent, utterly unbelievable, more ludicrous than Debra Messing in a revolving wardrobe of sweater capes. It wasn't so bad it was good, it was so good because it was bad. Everything stunk to high heaven and made for as many mean-spirited tweets as there are light bulbs on the Great White Way. Well, everything stunk but the musical numbers, which is what everyone was tuning in for in the first place and always managed to deliver the thrills we were seeking. Now Smash going to get rid of its most hateful character.
Entertainment Weekly reported today that the characters of weasel-faced assistant Ellis (Jaime Cepero) and the Prince of Yawns Dev (Raza Jaffrey) won't be returning for the show's revamped second season. The Hollywood Reporter says that both Julia's cuckolded husband Frank (the woefully underused Brian D'Arcy James) and her married paramour and Joe DiMagio stand in Michael (Will Chase) are being kicked out. Sadly Julia's son Leo, the mopiest teenager on all of television, will still be central to the story. Yes, you can't get Dev out the door fast enough (hello, this is a show about the Rialto, not some minor functionary in the mayor's office who happens to be boffing a chorus girl who isn't even a star yet), but Ellis? You're going to do this to our Ellis?
It's my contention that Ellis was the only successful character on the whole show. He's the only one with a consistent personality from episode one right up until the season finale last week. Since we first saw the impossibly heterosexual Ellis everyone hated him. He was meddlesome, insincere, and always going where he wasn't wanted. He had no allegiance to anyone but himself (and a girlfriend who, shockingly he did not meet at summer camp in Canada). Ellis would do absolutely anything to get ahead and even though his methods were abhorrent, they always seemed to work. Everyone works with an Ellis and everyone finds him more detestable than spending your day off at the DMV. Know what that makes for? Good TV!
As with every other character, whose story lines were as battered as the chorus boys in Spider-Man: Turn on the Lawsuits, we never quite knew how we felt. We loved when Ivy would triumph over diversity and hated her when she became a silly drug addict. We loved Karen when she finally got hip to what being in a show was like, but we hated that she didn't earn the part of Marilyn. We hated Julia when she wanted to adopt a baby and we hated Julia when she had an affair and we thought we were supposed to like her but we just hated her. Even then, we were conflicted. But Ellis, oh, everyone hated Ellis. And watching him get fired in the season finale was so incredibly gratifying, but everyone who has ever dealt with a real life Ellis will tell you that he's harder to get rid of than a Winona Forever tattoo.
That's why the show needs to keep him around. A show is only as good as their villain is bad, and Ellis was bad in a million tiny deplorable ways. For next season NBC has hired Gossip Girl showrunner Josh Safran to get the show on track. The man who gave Blair Waldorf a million lackeys should know that having someone who is meddlesome, eavesdropping, corrupt, and craven can drive plots for season upon season. Yes, we all hated Ellis, but we hated him for all the right reasons. This kid should stay in the show.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
'Smash' Season Finale: Hold Your Applause
Uma Thurman Joins NBC's Musical Drama 'Smash'
'Smash' Covers Adele's 'Rumor Has It,' But Can It Compare to the 'Glee' Version?
The Kill Bill actress will star in five episodes of Smash, an upcoming drama about the production of a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.
Thurman will play a famous and somewhat difficult movie star who flirts with the idea of appearing in the 'Marilyn' stage show.
The series will star Debra Messing, Christian Borle and Brian d'Arcy James as full-time characters.
Billy Elliot, The Musical is leading the way at this year's Tony Awards after scooping 15 nominations -- tying with The Producers for the most nominations ever garnered by one show.
Click here for full coverage of the Tonys and all things Broadway!
The production, based on the 2000 film about a coal miner's son who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer, will go up against Next To Normal, Shrek The Musical and Rock of Ages in the coveted Best Musical category at the 63rd annual ceremony, which honors the best on Broadway.
Elton John, who has been nominated for the show's original score, says of the nomination: "It's been an amazing experience. It's made an incredible impact on my life."
The drama 33 Variations was nominated for Best Play, competing against God of Carnage, Dividing the Estate and Reasons to be Pretty.
Meanwhile, Hollywood actors James Gandolfini and Jeff Daniels, who both star in God of Carnage, have been pitted against each other for the Leading Actor in a Play award.
Their co-stars Marcia Gay Harden and Hope Davis will battle it out in the Leading Actress in a Play category, which also includes veteran actress Jane Fonda for her role as a dying musicologist in 33 Variations.
The winners will be announced on June 7 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The main list of nominees is as follows:
Dividing the Estate - Horton Foote
God of Carnage - Yasmina Reza
Reasons to be Pretty - Neil LaBute
33 Variations - Moises Kaufman
Next to Normal
Rock of Ages
Shrek the Musical
Leading Actor in a Play:
Jeff Daniels - God of Carnage
Raul Esparza - Speed-the-Plow
James Gandolfini - God of Carnage
Geoffrey Rush - Exit the King
Thomas Sadoski - Reasons to be Pretty
Leading Actress in a Play:
Hope Davis - God of Carnage
Jane Fonda - 33 Variations
Marcia Gay Harden - God of Carnage
Janet McTeer - Mary Stuart
Harriet Walter - Mary Stuart
Leading Actor in a Musical:
David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish - Billy Elliot
Gavin Creel - Hair
Brian d'Arcy James - Shrek the Musical
Constantine Maroulis - Rock of Ages
J. Robert Spencer - Next to Normal
Leading Actress in a Musical:
Stockard Channing - Pal Joey
Sutton Foster - Shrek the Musical
Allison Janney - 9 to 5
Alice Ripley - Next to Normal
Josefina Scaglione - West Side Story
Next to Normal
9 to 5
Shrek the Musical
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