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.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
It looks like fans of ABC's Lost won't have to just wait to see Henry Ian Cusick in another life, they'll be able to catch him on NBC! TV Guide reports that the former time-traveling Islander will appear in at least two fall episodes on Law and Order: SVU in the coming season, playing a graphic artist named Erik Weber.
SVU executive producer Neal Baer, a fan of Lost, tells TV Guide's William Keck that he cast Ian because he is "a sharp, smart leader and very charismatic" - something that all us Losties already knew. What we don't know is why Cusick hasn't found more work since finishing up work on ABC's already classic serialized drama in a forthcoming TV season that is chock full of new product. Do networks want to avoid casting good actors in their pilots? The mind boggles...
Though details on the role are scarce, Baer did mention that Cusick's Weber might have a fling with Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). There might be some flirtation," Baer says. "Erik meets Olivia when he comes to someone's aid. And then we'll see how it goes. Olivia is devoted to her job and knows that comes first." Sounds like Penny Widmore finally has some competition...
Source: TV Guide
The star was found dead at his apartment in Berlin, Germany on Wednesday (23Jun10). Police are investigating his cause of death.
Best known for his role as a courteous psychopath in Michael Haneke's 1997 film Funny Games, Giering was often cited as an inspiration for wannabe performers.
He was well known in his homeland for small, supporting roles and his part as Chief Inspector Henry Weber in German crime series Der Kriminalist. Programme bosses have halted filming on the new season of the show.
A statement from Odeon Film, the company behind Der Kriminalist, reads, "We are deeply moved by the much too early death of this young, talented actor. With Frank Giering we have lost a very treasured colleague who has in the past four years accompanied and enriched us."
Giering openly spoke of his struggles with alcoholism and claimed his emotional issues stemmed from growing up in communist East Germany.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
In the tradition of Batman Begins and Casino Royale the clock is rolled back on the legendary icons the D—the self-proclaimed greatest band in the world—as the curtain is pulled back on their secret origins and the demons that drive them are unveiled… OK so it’s not really that deep. Though the heavy metal/comedy combo of Jack/JB/”Jabeles” (Jack Black) and Kyle/KB/”Kage” (Kyle Gass) have long played hip clubs cut an album starred in their own short-lived HBO series and amassed a devoted cult of fans their first feature film reveals how the pudgy duo first meet form the band meet their first fan (Jason Reed as TV holdover Lee) go questing the fabled Pick of Destiny—a shard of Satan’s tooth turned into a guitar pick passed among rock’s most accomplished shredders—and ultimately smack down with the devil himself. Believe it or not it’s a love story. Thanks to their long professional partnership Black and Gass comprise two perfectly crafted sides of a very polished comedy coin: Black is the wild-eyed uncontrolled id Gass is the low-energy manipulative slacker and they meet in the middle with an equal amount of unchecked delusion about their musical ability and potential. They both deftly pull off the trickiest types of comedy: smart jokes in the guise of dumb characters and it’s nice to see Black—obviously the bigger film star of the two—share the funniest bits equally with Gass. Of course all of this hinges on the audience’s tolerance for the ambitiously clueless ego-cases (and moviegoers who only love Black for his tamer version of the same persona in School of Rock should be warned—this is the cruder ruder and more profane incarnation) but we admit we’ve long had a taste for the D. They boys carry they movie squarely on their shoulders though longtime D supporters Tim Robbins and Ben Stiller stand out in cameos—the first Stiller cameo in ages that’s both amusing and non-gratuitous! Also appearing in small bits: SNL’s Fred Armisen and Amy Poehler Oscar-nominee Amy Adams Colin Hanks hard rock hero Ronnie James Dio Foo Fighter Dave Grohl as Satan and an uncredited John C. Reilly though you’ll never ever recognize him when he’s onscreen. And kudos to whoever had the inspired notion to cast Meat Loaf as JB’s pious father and Troy Gentile as the young rockin’ JB (Gentile also played a junior version of Black in Nacho Libre). Helmer Liam Lynch who also collaborated on the screenplay with Black and Gass and directed their music video “Tribute ” understands the absurd world of the D completely and demonstrates a clever assured sense of straight-faced silliness. Indeed the first ten minutes of the film alone—a mini-rock opera in itself—announce him as a comedy director to watch. Although we’re sure the bandmates themselves would take full credit for the film’s success. After all they may not have made the greatest movie in the world but in D-speak they came up with a pretty rockin’ tribute version.
His trademark flowing hair gone, the newly shorn Hugh Grant appeared at the London premiere of About a Boy Sunday. He spent some time greeting the multitudes of fans who had gathered to see him and rebuffing questions on former paramour Elizabeth Hurley. Grant signed autographs for the throng but repeatedly stated that he would not comment on Liz or her 10-day-old son, Damian. The other two stars of the film, Toni Collette and Nicholas Hoult, also attended the premiere.
Maybe Cameron Diaz isn't "The Sweetest Thing." SkyNews.com quotes the blonde beauty as saying, "I'm not the marrying kind," to current beau Jared Leto. Citing the famous lack of marriage stability in Hollywood, Diaz went on to say, "I don't want to be another statistic."
John Cusack (Serendipity, America's Sweethearts) is set to star in John Grisham's The Runaway Jury, which will begin filming this fall, Variety reports. Cusack may feel some heat, as Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive) is being considered for the female lead.
Nathan Lane is clearly a hard act to follow. Henry Goodman, who took over for Lane in the Broadway play The Producers, has been fired after just 30 performances, Variety reports. Brad Oscar, who was Lane's understudy, will take over the lead role of Max Bialystock. Steven Weber, who took over for Matthew Broderick when Broderick and Lane retired in March, will continue on with his role.
Bernie Mac, Fox's highest-rated new series of the 2001-2002 season, has been cleared for a second year, Variety says. Airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m., the endearing family comedy has drawn decent ratings and outstanding critical reviews. It's also won a prestigious Peabody Award.
Mia Farrow (Hannah and Her Sisters) will grace the small screen again. The former star of soap Peyton Place will join titular star Mary McCormack on CBS' comedy Julie Lydecker. Farrow plays McCormack's flighty mother who comes to live with her unemployed daughter.
Academy Award host Whoopi Goldberg will not be returning to her day job as producer and center square of Hollywood Squares, a post she's filled for the past four years, Reuters reports. The show has been renewed for a fifth and sixth season, which will have to go on without the comedienne. No word yet has been received on a replacement.
British rockers Oasis are dipping into the well once again. Despite their last album's poor reception, the group members are planning to release their first album (Heathen Chemistry) in more than two years, in July. The first single from the album, "The Hindu Times," has just been released to radio stations, though fans have been able to download a bootleg copy from the Internet for months.
Survivor: Marquesas' Tammy Leitner is already a winner. Leitner has been given a journalism award for her work as a police reporter by the Associated Press Managing Editors of Arizona. Along with three other reporters, Leitner covered a rash of swimming pool drownings for the East Valley Tribune, winning first place in the public service reporting category. Leitner is one of the nine remaining contestants on Survivor who are competing for the $1 million top prize.
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick took their last bows Sunday night at the St. James Theater in New York.
Lane and Broderick, who have spent the last year starring in the Mel Brooks musical The Producers, are handing over their roles to Henry Goodman (Private Parts) and Steven Weber (TV's Wings).
The Producers is based on a 1968 Brooks film about a ne'er-do-well Broadway producer, Max Bialystock (Lane), and his self-effacing accountant, Leo Bloom (Broderick). The two swindle investors out of their money by raising more cash than they need for a sure-fire Broadway bomb--then pocket the difference.
A teary Lane and Broderick took their bows before a cheering crowd and remained silent when Brooks and director/choreographer Susan Stroman came on stage and presented them with bouquets of red roses, The Associated Press reports.
"We wanted to thank you for making us laugh for an entire year," Stroman said, wishing them well on their new adventures.
Brooks yelled out, "Ditto."
Broderick's wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, was in attendance at the Sunday matinee.
Lane and Broderick already have projects on the horizon. Lane will star in a CBS comedy called Life of the Party, while Broderick will star in a television version of The Music Man on ABC. Both were offered large sums of money to stay in the show, but both said no.
"The nature of acting is that you have to move on," Broderick said in an interview. "At some point, you have to let these things go and, in a way, it's nice to go when there's still some energy left."
The Producers has been an audience favorite since it opened to rave reviews in April 2001 and has been a continuous sellout since. The show won a record 12 Tony Awards last June, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction, Best Choreography and Best Actor for Lane.
The original supporting cast members are staying in the show; Goodman and Weber, who signed nine-month contracts, will start March 19.