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.
It wouldn't be a Comedy Central roast without an offensive race joke — and a rape joke, an incest joke, a sexist joke, a homophobic joke, and so on and so forth. That's all part of the fun when you sign on for one of the network's celebrated mean-fests, though it must be noted that they are all filmed in advance so that some of the zingers — like Jeffrey Ross' shocker about the recent mass shootings in Aurora, Colo. — can be edited out of the broadcast. This year, the roastee in question was Roseanne Barr, and while the famed comedienne-slash-failed national anthem singer took her fair share of hits ( “You know you’re unattractive when Sara Gilbert is the eye-candy on set”), the overall atmosphere was more "all in good fun" than it was when Charlie Sheen took the hot seat last year. (But that bastard deserved it.)
As we said last week, the most buzzworthy moment happened when Barr's ex, Tom Arnold, took the stage after 18 years of deliberate separation. The two touchingly made their peace on national television, after Ross, Roast master Jane Lynch, comedienne Amy Schumer, Anthony Jeselnik, Katey Sagal, Ellen Barkin, Carrie Fisher, Gilbert Gottfried, Wayne Brady, and Seth Green did their damage.
In an interesting twist of pseudo-premonition, Ross (who came dressed as Joe Paterno) ended his bit with comments on the sad state of comedy today, bemoaning the fact that comedians occasionally have to "second guess their imaginations and apologize for jokes," undoubtedly referring to the recent incidents involving Dane Cook and Daniel Tosh. Tragic, indeed. Fisher mostly poked fun at herself, while everyone tended to leave Sagal alone. (Might they be afraid of her husband, the infamously outspoken Sons of Anarchy producer Kurt Sutter? Or does everyone just really like her?) You can find the deepest cuts below, organized by topic to make things easier for the kiddies:
Race: "You're so white that I tried to snort you backstage." — Fisher, to Brady
“Now, Wayne, you’re going to hear a lot of jokes tonight about how you’re not a real black man, but I just want you to know — I still hid my purse.” — Lynch, to Brady
Weight: "This business can really be tough on women. Many of them develop eating disorders in an effort to be thin. It's just a suggestion." — Sagal, to Schumer
“Carrie Fisher make yourself comfortable — chain yourself to Roseanne’s chair.” — Ross to Fisher, calling Barr Jabba the Hutt
"Normally when I roast a pig it has an apple in its mouth." — Ross to Barr, handing her an apple
Molestation: "You know how everyone has that one weird, creepy uncle? Well, Seth Green looks like he got raped by all of them." — Jeselnik to Green
“Comedy comes from pain, people, and nobody knows that better than this woman, the legendary Roseanne Barr — who was molested as a child. Ugh, that poor molester. Roseanne never got over it. She felt violated. She had trust issues. She never got the candy he promised her.” — Ross, to Barr, who was actually molested
Drugs: "Carrie, you've cut more lines than a crippled kid at Disneyland." — Schumer, to Fisher
"If I had to come up with one reason why I love you so much, it would have to be because I have done so much dope that I have no idea who the f*** you are or who I am, or where I am." — Fisher, to Barr (and Fisher)
“Carrie used to be paid a lot to take work as a screenwriter, and now the only ‘scripts she takes are from her friends’ medicine cabinets.” — Green, to Fisher
Age: "You ladies are like the women's Olympic gymnastics team — tired, overheated, and you don't get your periods anymore. — Schumer, to every other woman present
“Carrie, you are the only celebrity whose action figure is worth more than you are.” — Brady, to Fisher
Politics: "Mitt Romney sent her flowers for making him the second most hated Mormon in the campaign. — Schumer, to Barr
“I feel honored that you and I broke new ground as TV moms who didn’t cook, didn’t clean, and didn’t make any money. In the ’80s, that made you a bad mom, but today it makes you Mitt Romney’s wife.” — Sagal, to Barr
"I really, really like you, but a lot of people hate you, especially Sarah Palin — because you remind her of what Trig’s going to look like when he’s 40.” — Brady, to Ross, referring to Palin's disabled son
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: Comedy Central]
Roseanne Barr Roasted: The Meanest Jokes of the Night
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Brash and brassy comedienne Roseanne Barr was put in the hot seat as the guest of honor of her very own Comedy Central roast, taped Saturday night at the Hollywood Palladium. Compared to the nastier roast endured by celebrity train wreck Charlie Sheen in 2011, Barr's night had an overwhelming "it's all in good fun" vibe. That's not to say that the show wasn't without a few barbs. Barr's size, politics, career, and marriage were all fair game for roastmaster Jane Lynch and roasters Seth Green, Ellen Barkin, Wayne Brady, Gilbert Gottfried, Jeffrey Ross, Carrie Fisher and others.
The biggest surprise of the evening came when Tom Arnold, Barr's ex-husband, took a turn at the mic. "We have not been in the same room for 18 years," Arnold said to a seemingly shocked Barr, the Los Angeles Times reports, before starting in on their four-year marriage and messy divorce. "I'm not here to tear Roseanne a new one, because I've seen the old one," Arnold said. Arnold ended the night on a surprisingly sweet note, however, crediting his ex-wife with jumpstarting his career. Referring to Barr's appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Arnold said, "You got validation from the king that could never be taken away from you. Roseanne, you were my Johnny Carson."
While Arnold's closing remarks were aww-worthy, the roast included plenty of jabs that elicited shock and dismay from the audience. Here's a roundup of the meanest jokes made at Barr's expense.
Amy Schumer: “I was surprised you were running for president. I just think a lot of people just couldn’t picture you, like, running.”
Katey Sagal: “It’s great to see Roseanne back in the spotlight. Technically, it’s two spotlights, but you get the idea.”
Wayne Brady: “Roseanne, it’s been said that you stole Sam Kinison’s style: you’re fat, loud and you died in the ’90s. But, Roseanne, you had to overcome a lot to make it in Hollywood, and that’s why I love you — bad marriages, mental illness, plus, you look like Roseanne. You’re oversized, beat up, and you reek of marijuana. You’re kind of like Willie Nelson’s tour bus. Except people still wanna ride that.”
Anthony Jeselnik: “Roseanne, what does it say about you that when you accused your father of incest, there was an outpouring of sympathy for your father.”
Ellen Barkin: “You totally changed the way men do not give a f**k about women’s opinions.”
Gilbert Gottfried: “Tonight, it’s our chance to end the reign of Rozilla forever. Everyone, grab your torches and lead her to the pit. She’ll think it’s a barbecue!”
Jane Lynch: "She's one of those rare celebrities so famous that she's referred to by just one name: b***h ... I waved to you outside but then I realized it was just one of those inflatable parking lot gorillas."
Jeffrey Ross: "I've got to give it to you, you've been tortured and abused all night and you're still hanging in there. Roseanne, I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to the chair you're sitting on." (Bonus: "Instead of running for president, why don't you try walking on a treadmill. I'd vote for you but I'm against big government. That's just what we need, a round president in an oval office.")
Tom Arnold: “Rosie, this is true — she actually had ‘Property of Tom Arnold’ tattooed on her hip, which made me the fourth largest property owner in California.”
The Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne will air on Comedy Central at 10pm on Sunday, August 10.
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: Fayes Vision/WENN.com]
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