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.
By now you probably know that Henry Cavill has landed the role as Superman in Zack Snyder’s reboot, The Man of Steel, but who will be the lucky lady who wins the hero’s affections? Lois Lane is arguably the epitome of the classic leading lady. She’s tough, independent, sensitive and wildly gorgeous. The proportions of these traits and additions of others has varied for as long as Lois Lane has been the lady love to Superman, changing with the characteristics and ideals of most American women. If Superman is America’s hero, she’s America’s ideal woman. No pressure, eh? The shortlist for the new Lois has already hit the web, but here are the ladies we'd put in the running for the iconic role.
I know, I know. She’s already out because of her Catwoman role, but wouldn’t she really be the best candidate for the job? If Snyder goes with the Modern Age version of Lois, he’ll need someone who’s tough, self-reliant, yet with a gentle side. Hathaway’s versatile, glamorous, fiercely independent, funny, but also capable of playing a somber part when necessary. We’ve come to know her because of roles that demanded independence, a sense of humor, immense beauty and genuine charm. She’s got all of those things, it’s just too bad that she’s also got the role of Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Returns because that’s what got her booted from the short list for Lois.
This lucky lady is actually on the shortlist for Snyder’s reboot and frankly she’s the only name I agree with. She played a devious, strong-willed love interest to Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes, showcasing her talent for portraying strong women and removing the bad taste she left us with after making it big with boring, girly roles in movies like The Notebook and Wedding Crashers. If we can’t have Hathaway, McAdams is the next best bet.
Hall would make for a more mature, demure Lois Lane, but considering we’re not sure what direction The Man of Steel is taking with the classic leading lady, I’m considering all options here. We’ve seen her in films like Vicky Christina Barcelona where she kept her wits about her amongst the wild lovefest offered up by Javier Bardem and we saw her in The Town where she once again played the rational, strong bank manager while still being fragile enough to need some saving from former Superman contender Jon Hamm. If Snyder is looking to put a more adult spin on the story of Superman, Hall would be his gal.
This lady would make a great Lois Lane if this Superman flick hopes to play up her feminine, ahem, charms. Getting her to put aside time to film the movie might be difficult considering how busy she is for the next year, but I think she’d be a worthy choice. Her career is just now taking off, so we’ve got little to go by at this point; she’s a solid performer as Dr. Remy Hadley on House and we’re well aware of her assets thanks to the skin-tight body suit she donned for TRON: Legacy. Stepping in as Lois would be a great way to keep her movie mojo going as she seems to pick up role after role after role.
You probably know this striking beauty from the Twilight series, or if you’re smart and have been avoiding those movies like the plague you probably have never heard of her. Despite that the vampire series requires her to recite poorly written lines that sound unnatural, she holds her own on screen and I’m sure she has the potential for better things (I won’t dare say bigger; Stephanie Meyers is just rolling in that sparkly vampire money). Greene is looking to have a big year in 2011 with lots of teen-pleasing flicks, but jumping on board for The Man of Steel would be a great way for her to take her career from tweeny bopper siren to real movie star.
Obviously this choice would require a little time at the salon for a hair color change, but no one can deny that Jones epitomizes old Hollywood glamor. Should Snyder hope to capture a little of the nostalgic charm of Superman’s comic book glory, she’d be a great choice for his lady love. Some versions of Lois Lane paint her as a lady with nothing but marriage on the brain. This era of Lane paints her not so much as a hard-hitting reporter, but a woman who’s simply head over heels for the caped hero. Should Snyder go in this direction, the uber glamorous former Mrs. Don Draper would be an excellent choice.