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.
Warner Bros.' highly anticipated sci-fi sequel The Matrix Reloaded crushed the competition at the box office with a mind-bending five-day take of $135.7 million*, making it the second best weekend opening of all time. The megahyped actioner also set a new record for the biggest consecutive four-day domestic box office gross in cinema history with $134.3 million, became the highest grossing R-rated film ever and broke the one-day box office record on its formal opening day, with $42.5 million. Reloaded premiered on about 2,750 screens across the country Wednesday night--two hours before its nationwide release Thursday in some 3,603 theaters with a record 8,517 prints. But its early release could also be why it failed to beat Sony Picture's Spider-Man's still-standing record as the best weekend opener of all time.Reloaded went on to gross $93.2 million Friday through Sunday, which was not enough to defeat Spider-Man's record three-day haul of $114.8 million. The previous No. 2 spot was held by Warner's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with $90.3 million.Still, Reloaded managed to sell out most evening showtimes despite its restrictive rating, which many industry insiders believed would lessen its chance to reach a broad audience. With the highest playdate count of any R-rated film, Reloaded blew away the previous record for the best opening for an R rated pic, held by Universal's horror sequel Hannibal, which raked in $58 million in its opening weekend in February 2001."This just shows that ratings matter to a point, but if people want to see the movie, they're going to see the movie," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations Co. told The Associated Press Sunday. "It was review proof and it was ratings proof." "You had a whole legion of fans under 17 whose parents were obviously willing to take them to see this movie," he added. "You can almost call this an R-rated family film."Other R-rated blockbusters opening this summer, including Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Bad Boys II and American Wedding--the third installment in the American Pie trilogy--will no doubt see Reloaded's weighty box office take as a positive sign. THE TOP TENWarner Bros.' R rated sci-fi sequel The Matrix Reloaded easily debuted at the top of the box office with an ESTIMATED three-day take $93.2 million at 3,603 theaters. The film's $25,884 per theater average was the highest of any film playing this weekend. Its cume is approximately $135.7 million.In the trilogy's second installment, Neo, Trinity and Morpheus continue their battle against the Machines both in and out of the Matrix as mankind has just 72 hours before the destruction of the human city of Zion. Directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, it stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving.Sony Pictures' PG-rated Daddy Day Care remained in the No. 2 spot in its second week with an ESTIMATED $19.2 million (-30%) at 3,408 theaters (+38 theaters, $5,634 per theater). Its cume is approximately $51.3 million.Directed by Steve Carr, it stars Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Steve Zahn, Regina King and Anjelica Huston. Lats week's box office topper, 20th Century Fox's comic book sequel X2: X-Men United skipped second place and went straight to No. 3 in its third week of release with an ESTIMATED $17.1 million (-57%) at 3,489 theaters (-260 theaters, $4,910 per theater average). Its cume is approximately $174 million, heading towards the $200 million mark.Directed by Bryan Singer, it stars Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.In fourth place is 20th Century Fox's PG-13 romantic comedy Down With Love, which debuted in one New York theater last week and expanded into 2,123 theaters this week with an ESTIMATED $ 7.5 million, with a $3,573 per theater average. Its cume is approximately $7.6 million.The film, an homage to Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies, follows a feminist writer who knocks heads with a playboy journalist. Directed by Peyton Reed, it stars Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor and David Hyde Pierce.Buena Vista's PG rated The Lizzie McGuire Movie fell two notches to fifth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $4.5 million (-38%) at 2,825 theaters (-167 theaters, $1,693 per theater). Its cume is approximately $32.1 million.Directed by Jim Fall, it stars Hilary Duff, Adam Lamberg and Yani Gellman.*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated comedy Anger Management fell one rung to No. 6 in its sixth week with an ESTIMATED $3.6 million (-37%) at 2,476 theaters (-343 theaters, $1,454 per theater). Its cume is approximately $128.3million.Directed by Peter Segal, it stars Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Marisa Tomei and John Turturro.Sony Pictures' R-rated psychological thriller Identity dropped three places in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $3.4 million (-48%) at 2,196 theaters (-422, $1,548 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.8 million.Directed by James Mangold, it stars John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, Rebecca DeMornay and Alfred Molina. Buena Vista's PG rated teen comedy Holes fell from sixth to eighth place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $3 million (-38%) at 2,232 theaters (-220 theaters, $1,344 per theater). Its cume is approximately $45 million.Directed by Andrew Davis, it stars Rick Fox, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson and Shia LeBeouf. Warner Bros. PG-13 A Mighty Wind, dropped from seventh to No. 9 in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $1.7 million (-42%) at 770 theaters (+5 theaters; $2,253 per theater). Its cume is approximately $12.1 million. Directed by and starring Christopher Guest, it also stars Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Bob Balaban, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and more. Rounding out the Top Ten is Fox Searchlight's PG-13 rated Bend It Like Beckham. The soccer comedy fell one notch in its tenth week of release stateside with an ESTIMATED $1.5 million (-13%) at 553 theaters (-2 theaters, $2,731 per theater). Its cume is approximately 15.1 million.Directed Gurinder Chadha, it stars Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.OTHERSMiramax Film's G rated animated sequel Pokémon Heroes opened with an ESTIMATED $225,000 at 196 theaters ($1,148 per theater).This is the fifth in the series of Japanese anime films including: Pokemon The First Movie (1999), Pokemon The Movie 2000 (2000), Pokemon 3 The Movie: Spell of the Unknown (2001) and Pokemon 4Ever (2002). Lion Gate's R rated prison drama Sweet Sixteen, meanwhile, debuted in three theaters with an ESTIMATED $30,000, with an impressive $10,000 per theater average.The film revolves around a young teen struggling to realize his dream in the gritty streets of Glasgow while waiting for his mother's release from prison.Directed by Ken Loach, it stars Martin Compston, William Ruane, Annmarie Fulton and Michelle Abercromby.WEEKEND COMPARISONThe Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $156 million, up a whopping 52.3 percent from last week when they totaled $102.4 million.The Top 12 were down about 4 percent from last year when they totaled $162.6 million.Last year, Fox's PG rated Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones premiered at the top of the box office with $80 million at 3,161 theaters ($25,317 per theater); Sony's PG-13 rated Spider-Man came in second in its third week with with $45 million at 3,615 theaters ($12,458 per theater); and Fox's R rated Unfaithful came in third in its second week with $10 million at 2,624 theaters ($3,816 per theater).
Go to our Box Office section for recent weekend movie analysis.
Hustler to publish Paris Hilton pics
Just when the hype over One Night in Paris, Paris Hilton's homemade sex video co-starring ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon, seems to have dissipated, here comes Hustler magazine's announcement that they will publish eight photos of the hotel heiress making out with a woman. Agent David Hans Schmidt, who sold the photos the adult magazine for an undisclosed price, told The Associated Press Monday the photographs, which date back about two years, depict a fully clothed Hilton "with a brunette at a nightclub, cavorting with her, dancing and cuddling with her and fondling her." Hustler's editorial director, Bruce David, said photos will likely be published in the magazine's May issue, which hits newsstands at the end of February. "It's a hot, passionate serious make-out session," David told the AP. "It does not appear to be two girls kidding around or two girls kissing each other hello. It seems to be pretty hot and pretty heavy." Hilton, 23, is currently filming Fox's The Simple Life 3 with Nicole Richie. Her spokeswoman was not available for comment.
Ozzy Osbourne struggles with intruder
Two burglars broke into Ozzy Osbourne's English country home just before dawn Monday and stole a large amount of jewelry. Reuters reports a source close to the family said the 55-year-old rock star grabbed one of the thieves, but the intruder struggled free and jumped out of a first-floor window. According to police, the burglars used a ladder to climb into the Osbournes' mansion in Buckinghamshire, north of London. Neither Osbourne nor his wife, Sharon, was hurt during the incident. Ozzy Osbourne first shot to fame in the 1970s as the frontman for the heavy metal band Black Sabbath and later as the much-loved star of MTV's hit reality show The Osbournes.
Cojo needs kidney transplant
Fashion guru Steven Cojocaru, a correspondent for the syndicated TV shows Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, announced Monday he suffers from polycystic kidney disease and requires a kidney transplant operation, the AP reports. Cojocaru revealed his illness in an interview with ET host Mary Hart, which aired Monday night. Cojocaru said he was diagnosed with the disease during a general checkup, but was assured by his doctor that after the operation, "I can climb a mountain in Nepal." Family and friends have volunteered to serve as an organ donor but a donor has yet to be selected. Cojocaru, said he is continuing to develop a talk show for next fall.
Stern's sidekick heads to small screen
Robin Quivers, best known for playing sidekick to radio shock jock Howard Stern, has signed a deal with Sony Pictures Television to develop a syndicated talk show for daytime television, AP reports. The potential series could debut by fall 2005. Quivers will continue to work on Stern's radio show while developing her TV show, Sony said, but it wasn't clear whether she planned to stay with Stern if the show moves forward.
U2 plays surprise show beneath Brooklyn Bridge
Irish rockers U2 played a surprise outdoor concert Monday in a waterfront park beneath the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, the AP reports. The 45-minute concert was for an MTV special dubbed mtvJAMMED: U2, set to air Dec. 10. Although the music cabler hadn't publicly announced or advertised the show, thousands lined up at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, a riverside park between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. U2 spent the time leading up to the show on the back of a flatbed truck driving through Manhattan as a film crew shot the group for a new video. The band played songs from their new album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, released today.
Crow testifies against stalker
Rocker Sheryl Crow testified Monday in a New York court against a 38-year-old man accused of stalking her, the AP reports. Ambrose Kappos, who authorities say has been stalking the singer since 2002, is being tried on charges of burglary and stalking. Crow said that she had seen Kappos only once, the night of his arrest Oct. 6, 2003, standing outside her dressing room after a concert but had never met or spoken to him. According to the AP, Kappos told police after his arrest the word "fan" was inadequate to describe his attraction to Crow. He said he was a "spiritual twin," and that he and the pop rocker were destined to marry and have children.
A man gets probation for threatening Jackson
A Canadian man charged with e-mailing a death threat to Michael Jackson pleaded guilty Monday to uttering death threats, the AP reports. Adrian Poffley, 26, who had been off his medication for depression and anxiety for about a week, had been watching Jackson on TV as he entered the Santa Maria, Calif., courthouse to face charges of child molestation on Aug. 16, when he sent an e-mail to the Web site of the courthouse, saying: "Jackson will not make it to his car. This is a promise. By the way, bulletproof vests are weakest under the arm." The e-mail was traced to Bell Canada's Sympatico Internet service, which released subscriber information to police. Poffley was given a conditional discharge and put on probation for one year.
Oasis singer pays fine for hotel brawl
In exchange for criminal charges to be dropped, Oasis singer Liam Gallagher was ordered to pay a $65,200 fine over a 2002 brawl at a Munich hotel, the AP reports. The fight at the hotel left Gallagher with several broken teeth. At the time, police said he had kicked an officer outside the hotel's nightclub. Anton Winkler, a spokesman for Munich prosecutors, said contradictory statements by those involved left authorities unable to clearly establish who started the brawl.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
The honeymoon in Vegas is over. (And apparently has been for a long, long time.)
Oscar-winning star Nicolas Cage and actress/wife Patricia Arquette are divorcing after nearly five years of marriage, Arquette's publicist confirmed today.
Arquette, Cage Cage, 36, filed the petition Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing the dreaded "irreconcilable differences." The split was described as "amicable" and "a mutual decision" by Arquette's rep, Simon Halls.
The real shocker is Cage's divorce petition: It says the couple separated just nine months after they wed -- roughly four years ago.
Rumors had been circulating about the couple's happiness for the past few years. While the two often were arm in arm at premieres and award shows, onlookers commented that they looked about as thrilled as siblings forced to share the backseat on a road trip. The two have subsequently been tight-lipped about their marriage, although Cage recently told Movieline "you don't just throw in the towel when there's any kind of a problem."
The couple, who recently co-starred in Martin Scorsese's "Bringing Out the Dead" met in 1987. Cage was so besotted that he was said to have immediately declared, "I love you, and I'm going to marry you."
She didn't believe him, so he asked her to put him on a "mission" to prove his love to her. Legend has it, Arquette, now 31, complied by giving him the most Herculean of scavenger hunts, demanding items such as a black orchid and reclusive author J. D. Salinger's autograph.
Cage succeeded in obtaining the autograph (for the record, there are no black orchids), which impressed -- and probably frightened -- Arquette, who told him to forget about the rest of the list. She agreed to go on a getaway to Cuba with him, but when the trip fell through and Cage's decidedly unattractive temper flared, Arquette split.
During their time apart, Cage squired actress Sarah Jessica Parker and model Kirsten Zang, to whom he was engaged until 1994. Arquette kept company with Christian Slater and Matthew McConaughey. They both also became parents, he to son Weston Coppola Cage, now 9, with his then-girlfriend Kristina Fulton; she to son Enzo, now 11, with Paul Rossi. The two remained close friends until they crossed paths again in 1995.
This time, after a Pamela Anderson-Tommy Lee-length courtship, it was love, and the two wed April 8, 1995. But it was Arquette who proposed, showing up at Cage's house dressed head to toe in black vinyl, carrying a big purple wedding cake.
"I knew I was with the right woman," Cage said in a TV interview.
One would think the match was one made in heaven (or at least Hollywood), since both Cage and Arquette have famous bloodlines. Arquette is the younger sister of Rosanna ("Desperately Seeking Susan") and older sister of David, the "Scream" actor married to Courteney Cox. Cage's lineage includes uncle Francis Ford Coppola. As a young actor, Cage dropped the family name and adopted the moniker of comic-book strongman Luke Cage.
Cage, whose scored his first leading role in 1983's "Valley Girl" and began garnering notice in "Peggy Sue Got Married," directed by his uncle, shot to the A-list when he won the 1995 Best Actor Oscar for "Leaving Las Vegas." Of late, he has gone onto fashion himself as a action star in flicks such as "The Rock," "Con Air" and "Face/Off."
Arquette is perhaps best known for heating up the screen with Slater in "True Romance" (1993).