Hugo Weaving Cloud Atlas

REVIEW: ‘Cloud Atlas,’ A Symphony of Love in Six Eras

Now that I’ve seen Cloud Atlas, I wish I’d made more of an effort to attend one of the screenings around town recently, which were followed by Q&As with the Wachowski Siblings.  I would have asked something unabashedly unprofound: “Just how much fun did you guys have making this?”

I suspect that, despite the colossal effort to mount this epics of epics—the narrative scale of which I am still at a loss to find a reference in dusty film archives of my memory—they had a great deal of fun.  And that exuberance shows in every frame, whether the film is teetering on the brink of genius in some moments, or doing a backflip into a puddle of camp and trite in another.

The more serious professional critics are going to hate on this, or hide behind ambivalence—they can’t like it; it’s too messy, too unprecedented (it pays to remember that Roger Ebert once wrote for Russ Meyer—he’s a little out there).   If I were to close my eyes and imagine the impact Cloud Atlas will have on critics as if the film were embodied by a person, I see a nine-foot-tall tattooed tranny dressed in a garish costume that pays homage to centuries past and future, ambling into the hyper-exclusive Knickerbocker Club in New York, and not only insisting she be served the same drink as Mrs. Astor, but sitting down and playing bridge with her.

This is a bull through the china shop of every critics’ society in the West, and just to make sure they get the point, there’s even a scene in which a china shop is rapturously destroyed.

You Don’t Make Crap


by James Killough

Flipping mindlessly, sleepily through the chattering polyglot channels of Indian TV last night in my hotel room, I landed on a station that screens Hollywood films, the kind I would never ordinarily watch, i.e., the majority of films that are made.  Ivan Reitman’s My Super Ex-Girlfriend was on.  Wow, what a crock of shit.  Unwatchable.  I cannot imagine how Uma Thurman must have made it through a single day of shooting that clownish cack without taking her eye off her mortgage payments.

Uma Thurman rocking the widest, longest red carpet in the whole wild world at Cannes in a damned fine gown. And taking a photo call ass-first.

During a showdown between Uma Thurman’s ex-girlfriend character and Anna Faris’s current girlfriend character, the word “bitch” was bleeped so as not to offend sensitive Indian ears.  The subtitles, which translated American into standard English, substituted “bitch” with “witch.”  That blip of stringent censorship helps to understand why studios are so relentlessly inclined toward making nothing more rattling than a PG-13 film. Even the anodyne The King’s Speech has been modified to take out the whole “fuck” sequence with a view to broadening the film’s marketability, as if an Oscar sweep weren’t enough.  As a result, it has made over four hundred million worldwide, and will continuing pumping money for years to come.