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 Dark Knight actor will embark on drumming lessons to perfect his transformation as Wilson in Randall Miller's new film The Drummer, which charts the last six years of the rocker's life.
Eckhart, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Beach Boy, will also sing and play piano in the film, which will start shooting in California early in 2012.
Wilson drowned in Marina del Rey, California in 1983, shortly after he completed work on what was to become his masterpiece album, Pacific Ocean Blue.
Director Miller insists his leading man is the perfect choice to play Wilson, telling WENN, "Aaron is such a finely nuanced actor who is supremely dedicated to getting at the essence of who this rock star was. It is going to be an exciting and emotional journey."
Wilson's children Carl and Jennifer have signed on as co-producers and the film is being made with the family's blessing.
It's not the first time Wilson has been portrayed by an actor on screen - Chris Jacobs played him in Helter Skelter and Bruce Greenwood was Wilson in TV movie Summer Dreams: The Story of the Beach Boys.
More casting details will be announced in the coming weeks, including who will play former Fleetwood Mac star Christine McVie, Wilson's one-time lover.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
Just when we thought KISS took off their makeup and said goodbye to their fans on their farewell tour, KISS and Make-Up, the autobiography of KISS bassist Gene Simmons, will hit stores on Dec. 11.
"It's the weirdest thing in the world," Simmons told Rolling Stone of the anthology process. "Because when you're moving ahead in life and you take snapshots of where you've been and then someone turns around and says, 'Take the last thirty years and pick six hours of highlights,' the hardest thing is how to figure out what to put in and not what to leave out."
The book begins with Simmons' birth in Israel and details his emigration to America with his mother, as well as his former relationships with Cher, Diana Ross, and current wife, Shannon Tweed. The book will also talk about the formation of KISS and give details of the band's 30-year career.
KISS plans to plug their upcoming release KISS: The Box Set with an in-store appearance at Tower Records from 7 to 9 p.m on Nov. 20 in Hollywood, where guitarist Paul Stanley and Simmons will greet and give autographs to fans. Simmons will also host the Court TV documentary The Secret of Rock 'n' Roll on Dec. 4.
Fleetwood Mac: in the studio without McVie
Fleetwood Mac is back in the studio recording its first album since their tremendous 1997 comeback The Dance. But it wouldn't be Fleetwood Mac without some kind of catch--they'll be without singer/keyboardist Christine McVie, who has retired from the group, Reuters reports. She currently lives in an English castle and prefers to indulge in her passion for cooking. "We're happily a four-piece and are creatively, artistically, handling a new chapter of Fleetwood Mac without Christine, and it's going extremely well," co-founder and drummer Mick Fleetwood told Reuters. The band hopes to tour the U.S. next summer.
New York street corner may be renamed 'Joey Ramone Way'
Six months after punk rocker Joey Ramone died from lymphatic cancer, Manhattan's Lower East Side residents are anxiously waiting for the city's Community Board 3 to approve a proposal to change one of their street names after the former Ramones' front man. Residents have asked to change the corner of East Second Street and Bowery in Manhattan to Joey Ramone Way, Rolling Stone magazine reports. The board will
review the proposal at their next meeting on Nov. 15. "I think he's very important as an example of people who come from the East Village, but he's a New Yorker -- lived there, prospered and developed," CBGB's club owner, Hilly Kristal, told the magazine. "I think he would have been kind of embarrassingly pleased."
Guns N' Roses cancels European tour again
European fans will be upset to know that Guns 'N Roses have canceled their European tour for the second time this year. According to SonicNet.com, a press release by their manager, Doug Goldstein, reported that the group's 14-city tour in June has been put off until December because guitarist Buckethead has internal hemorrhaging in the stomach. The band also claims to want to finish recording their new album, Chinese Democracy. "Following the euphoria of Rock in Rio, I jumped the gun and arranged an European tour as our plan was to have the new album out this year," Goldstein said on a statement. "I am sorry to disappoint fans, but I can assure them that this is not what Axl [Rose] wanted. I made a plan, and unfortunately it did not work out." Goldstein also added that Rose has spent "every waking minute of every day during the last five years writing, recording and producing the record." If the new album ever comes out, it will be G N' R's first original material since 1991.
Ozzy breaks a leg, cancels shows
For years he's called himself a "madman" and acted the part onstage, but age might be starting to catch up with hard-living heavy metal pioneer Ozzy Osbourne. The rocker broke his leg last week when he slipped in the shower before a show in Tucson, Ariz. According to his official Web site, www.ozzy.com, he still performed despite the broken leg for a few dates until his doctor ordered him to rest at home. As a result, 10 dates of his Merry Mayhem tour, with opening act Rob Zombie, have been canceled. The tour will resume on Nov. 29 in Grand Fork, N.D., and end Dec. 29 in San Diego. There is no word yet when the missed dates might be rescheduled.
Jagger to play small party in Los Angeles
Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger performed Nov. 15 at a small party at Los Angeles's El Rey Theatre to celebrate the release of his new solo album Goddess in the Doorway. Jagger performed his upcoming single, "God Gave Me Everything," which he co-wrote with rocker Lenny Kravitz. The performance was taped for ABC's Nov. 22 broadcast, Being Mick, a one-hour documentary directed by Kevin Macdonald. Jagger's latest solo album will hit stores on Nov. 20.
Cure's Robert Smith to release first solo album
Although Robert Smith has been busy promoting the Cure's Greatest Hits album, which went on sale Nov. 13, he hopes to begin recording his first solo album in January or February. "I was just at the point of coordinating it all earlier this year when the Greatest Hits project was suggested, and I went along with it," Smith told SonicNet.com. "And so that took the Cure back into the studio to do all the new songs and the acoustic stuff. And that's followed by promotion, so I had to shelve my album again for another few months." In addition, Smith said that he started coming up for ideas after finishing the Cure's last studio album, Bloodflowers, in 2000. The Cure will also release a Greatest Hits home video on Nov. 27.
Third Eye Blind to headline Los Angeles' free clinic show
Third Eye Blind will headline the third of three benefit concerts for the Silver Lining Silver Lake project benefiting a Los Angeles free health clinic, Launch.com reports. The show, to be held on Nov. 15 at the Hollywood Palladium, will also include Jaguares, Becky, and appearances by Benicio Del Toro and Lucy Liu. The other two concerts will take place on Nov. 13 and 14 at the same venue, and will include performances by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elton John and Sting. Among the hosts present at the event will be Robert Downey Jr., Christina Ricci, Tony Hawk, and Adam Carolla.
Tickets for the first two nights are currently on sale for $250, $500 and $1000 through Ticketmaster. Tickets for the Nov. 15 show will go on sale on Nov. 17 for $100 a piece. All proceeds will benefit the Hollywood-Sunset Free Clinic, which has offered health care for Los Angeles residents since 1968 and has recently lost its civic funding.