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October 27th, 2012

Movie Review - Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas



Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D'Arcy, Xun Zhou, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Robert Fyfe, and more.


Directed by: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski Written for the Screen by: Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski Based on the Novel by: David Mitchell Cinematography by: Frank Griebe and John Toll Original Music by: Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, and Tom Tykwer


Premise: The connections and actions of people can affect connections and actions of others and themselves in future times. Five concurrent stories that are united by the concepts of freedom, love, truth, and music. (Rated R)


Review:


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: The roles in this film had to be as much a treat for the actors who played them as it was for the audience to watch. Not only did the acotrs have their physical aspects changed in each venue, but the characters were all different even if some aspects remained the same. Superb acting by all concerned. Tom Hanks is easily recognizable in all the roles he played, even with the amazing makeup. Halle Berry was also easy to spot. But most of Hugh Grant's and one or two of Hugo Weaving's roles I had no idea it was them. So make sure to sit through the credits as they'll flash all the characters each of the actors played. Keep a mental tally to if you spotted all of them of not. 


2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Some of the effects for the different time frames were subtle, others quite grand. All the futuristic vehicles and technology were amazing. My favorite has to be the room Somni-451 is taken to by Hae-Joo Chang. Reminded me of the scene in the original "TRON" that was cut out (and unfortunately lost) after the sampling run of the movie at the time - the one where Tron lent power to activate his room. Totally awesome. 


3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Some viewers may find the mixture of the five stories a bit jarring or hard to make the switch without some mental funbling. Personally, once they fully established the distinct stories in the first few minutes, I used the visual cues provided and didn't have any trouble knowing which story we were watching at any particular time. 


The film starts with a story teller and ends there as well. Circles are a major theme throughout the film. One bit of  fun was how the storyteller begins the tale and then one of those whose story is being told, apologizes and asks us to bear with him with regards to the shifting tales. This made the tale the storyteller and vice versa, as become obvious later still. 


Other recurring themes in the plot are freedom, making a stand, truth, and love. Things that happen in the past make subtle appearances in the future related stories, even if only as a found button, a torn book, or a snatch of an old film. Connections are everywhere, and it was fun looking for them. Pay special attention to names as those are the main clues on several of the connected items, though many are visual as well. 


For any authors out there, I believe the current day tale was partially written just for us! The Timothy Cavendish storyline was hilarious on several levels. It was nice that though some of these souls may have come back again and again, they weren't always the best they could be, at times giving into tendencies they'd won against in the past. One of the shifts with regards to one of the characters comes as a surprise. Gave the film more flavor that way. Even a seemingly innocuous joke about "Soylent Green" comes back to haunt us. 


As the plots play along, a seeming synchronicity comes into play, for though in the beginning the five stories were circles that barely touched, they come to pile up on top of each other as the climax of the film is reached. 


5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Each location for the stories was unique and totally immersive. They also help the audience know which story is being told. And the cinematography was excellent - whether of a real location, like San Francisco, or a CGI one, like Neo Seoul. Several of the views were quite breathtaking.


6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: If they don't win an award for the costuming and makeup, I will be shocked. Not only did the past sequences look historically accurate (the 70's scenes gave me flashbacks), but the two future set stories had evolved fashions and even some mannerisms or ways of speaking unique to themselves, which made them all the more believable.


Conclusion: The film is 172 minutes long, but it won't feel that way. Between the five stories, the great visuals, the bits of mystery, and looking for all the fun little bits that have bled into the other stories, you'll be way too busy having fun.


Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Movie Review - Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas

 

 

 

Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D'Arcy, Xun Zhou, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Robert Fyfe, and more.

 

Directed by: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski Written for the Screen by: Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski Based on the Novel by: David Mitchell Cinematography by: Frank Griebe and John Toll Original Music by: Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, and Tom Tykwer

 

Premise: The connections and actions of people can affect connections and actions of others and themselves in future times. Five concurrent stories that are united by the concepts of freedom, love, truth, and music. (Rated R)

 

Review:

 

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: The roles in this film had to be as much a treat for the actors who played them as it was for the audience to watch. Not only did the acotrs have their physical aspects changed in each venue, but the characters were all different even if some aspects remained the same. Superb acting by all concerned. Tom Hanks is easily recognizable in all the roles he played, even with the amazing makeup. Halle Berry was also easy to spot. But most of Hugh Grant's and one or two of Hugo Weaving's roles I had no idea it was them. So make sure to sit through the credits as they'll flash all the characters each of the actors played. Keep a mental tally to if you spotted all of them of not. 

 

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Some of the effects for the different time frames were subtle, others quite grand. All the futuristic vehicles and technology were amazing. My favorite has to be the room Somni-451 is taken to by Hae-Joo Chang. Reminded me of the scene in the original "TRON" that was cut out (and unfortunately lost) after the sampling run of the movie at the time - the one where Tron lent power to activate his room. Totally awesome. 

 

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Some viewers may find the mixture of the five stories a bit jarring or hard to make the switch without some mental funbling. Personally, once they fully established the distinct stories in the first few minutes, I used the visual cues provided and didn't have any trouble knowing which story we were watching at any particular time. 

 

The film starts with a story teller and ends there as well. Circles are a major theme throughout the film. One bit of  fun was how the storyteller begins the tale and then one of those whose story is being told, apologizes and asks us to bear with him with regards to the shifting tales. This made the tale the storyteller and vice versa, as become obvious later still. 

 

Other recurring themes in the plot are freedom, making a stand, truth, and love. Things that happen in the past make subtle appearances in the future related stories, even if only as a found button, a torn book, or a snatch of an old film. Connections are everywhere, and it was fun looking for them. Pay special attention to names as those are the main clues on several of the connected items, though many are visual as well. 

 

For any authors out there, I believe the current day tale was partially written just for us! The Timothy Cavendish storyline was hilarious on several levels. It was nice that though some of these souls may have come back again and again, they weren't always the best they could be, at times giving into tendencies they'd won against in the past. One of the shifts with regards to one of the characters comes as a surprise. Gave the film more flavor that way. Even a seemingly innocuous joke about "Soylent Green" comes back to haunt us. 

 

As the plots play along, a seeming synchronicity comes into play, for though in the beginning the five stories were circles that barely touched, they come to pile up on top of each other as the climax of the film is reached. 

 

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Each location for the stories was unique and totally immersive. They also help the audience know which story is being told. And the cinematography was excellent - whether of a real location, like San Francisco, or a CGI one, like Neo Seoul. Several of the views were quite breathtaking.

 

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: If they don't win an award for the costuming and makeup, I will be shocked. Not only did the past sequences look historically accurate (the 70's scenes gave me flashbacks), but the two future set stories had evolved fashions and even some mannerisms or ways of speaking unique to themselves, which made them all the more believable.

 

Conclusion: The film is 172 minutes long, but it won't feel that way. Between the five stories, the great visuals, the bits of mystery, and looking for all the fun little bits that have bled into the other stories, you'll be way too busy having fun.

 

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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