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Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Cloud Atlas”

Dear Frank,

Cloud Atlas German PosterAs we’ve previously discussed, I have a weird fondness for the Wachowskis despite their career ups and downs, and (as we have not previously discussed) I am DEFINITELY a fan of Tom Tykwer. (Run Lola Run is one of those movies that gets you a good two decades worth of goodwill from me. I mean, I haven’t watched it for at least a decade, and it might not hold up, but DAMN that was a good movie when it first came out.)

So a Wachowski/Tykwer team-up like Cloud Atlas, last year’s big budget genre mash-up? A-PLUS IDEA.

The actual movie, though… Sigh.

My initial exposure to Cloud Atlas, the book, was pretty much ideal: I borrowed it from a friend I was crashing with during a 2008 stay in England, and pretty much devoured it while crossing back and forth across the Thames on the bus. It absorbed my attention in spurts, and the structure of the storytelling kept me compelled; some sections I liked better than others, but that’s always the nature of a novel like this.

I’ve only read the book once, but it was pretty memorable — thus, when discussion of there being a film adaptation arose, I felt vaguely well-qualified to understand what a crazypants idea that was. (And that was BEFORE I heard about the fucking sixtuple-casting!)

A year after the film’s premiere, adapting this book remains a crazypants idea; yet I’ve now seen Cloud Atlas a whopping three times and could see myself watching it again at some point. Why is that, you might ask? I mean, what the hell happens in this movie, anyway? Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Speed Racer”

Dear Frank,

I’m still not sure yet what I think of the latest film co-directed by the Wachowskis, Cloud Atlas. I’ve seen it twice (once at a test screening months ago, once again this last weekend), and parts of it are really fucking cool, and parts of it are deeply problematic. There’s no doubt that when it comes to the making of movies, the Wachowskis kill it on a scene-by-scene basis.

But when it comes to a complete whole: Well, there are victories (The Matrix) and then there are less-than-victories (the other Matrix movies). Speed Racer, the Wachowskis’ 2008 big-budget well-cast adaptation of the classic Japanese cartoon, falls into the latter category.

(Stop shouting at me, people who really like this movie! I know you exist. We will address your concerns in a bit.) Read the rest of this entry

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