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Monty Cristo muses on and reviews CLOUD ATLAS

"Monty Cristo" here.


It's taken me weeks to get this out. I've started, restarted, and revised this review countless times. I have ended up deleting everything that came before and re-composing from scratch.

The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer formed the directing equivalent of a rock supergroup to make a movie out of a novel that has been considered unfilmable and unadaptable since its publication. The resulting trio, which I think of affectionately as "Wachowskykwer", have succeeded admirably in delivering a truly different evolution of what we consider cinematic vision. The simplest way to crystalize what the movie is about is to say that it is about "life, the universe and everything": not answering the meaning of it so much as driving you to ponder that question.

The six separate (though at once interconnected) stories that make up CLOUD ATLAS span different eras, genre, and stylistic tones, resulting in one of the most potent and densely packed modern cinematic experiences I've had the pleasure to digest. To define the scale and ambition of CLOUD ATLAS as "epic" feels reductive.

The stories, ideas, and themes of CLOUD ATLAS work concurrently in such a fashion that I can only define what the movie does as a form of "quantum narrative".

Roger Ebert has occasionally made mention of the "elevatory" experience that is rare in cinema, but which is at once what we all hope for each time the lights go down. CLOUD ATLAS delivers this momentary hit of a higher state of consciousness in bursts and waves throughout, such that it satisfies on first viewing, but at once drives a craving for a second and a third. It drives you to take a friend so that you can experience it rewiring their brain the way that it did yours. That first taste of the diverse spread of what universal humanity is and means is tremendously addictive. The movie has stayed in my thoughts on a constant, daily basis since I saw it at Fantastic Fest, and I'm glad that I can't shake it.


To recount characters, storylines, loglines, and individual performances feels futile. What I can offer is a stream-of consciousness braindump of the trans-existential theatre that everyone gets to see starting this weekend.

Is it wrong to hope I invented the term "trans-existential"? Whom or what may have influenced that combination of concepts in my head? When might I have heard someone use it, now unintentionally "stealing" it from them? Different than deja vu, I can hear the echo in my head of where that micro-idea came from, but I can't pin down anything approaching its origin point. It's like hearing an earworm you can't identify, and it drives you nuts for days, weeks, sometimes years or forever. CLOUD ATLAS features a piece of music in addition to other threads that make the characters in different stories and time periods make that momentary recognition of an intangible echo across existence.


CLOUD ATLAS features actors playing races, genders, and character archetypes that they never have the chance to so much as sniff at outside the theatre. Halle Berry plays a white woman wearing fancy dresses in a manor house. Doona Bae, a Korean actress who absolutely sets the screen on fire here, plays a woman in one place who has a southern/cajun type of patois, with freckles and reddish hair. Hugo Weaving plays a woman who is a true force of nature. Tom Hanks and Jim Broadbent, both actors I greatly admire, are allowed the chance to play characters I can best describe in the alignment of Dungeons and Dragons: lawful good, chaotic neutral, chaotic evil, the whole gamut. They do this with not just changes in makeup, but different dialectic and vocal register choices in service of painstakingly-crafted inhabitations of personae. Hugh Grant deserves a knighthood, sainthood, or something for the panoply of evil he presents so effortlessly.


The fact that I often mistook Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, and James D'Arcy is partially a testament to the makeup, costume, and performance work all on display allowing them to truly dissolve across races and roles. As a multi-ethnic person (Chinese-Cuban/Western European American), I grew up as a young actor who was often passed over for the "white" guys for lead roles, being pushed instead into RAV types (Russians, Arabs, Villains, and "others"). This will undoubtedly sound racist (I welcome your angry, hateful comments below), but I personally took some satisfaction that the attractive young/youngish white guys all blended together to some extent. Let's call me subjectively objectively racist and call it a day. I've so often heard "they all look alike" regarding "ethnics" of various races that it's refreshing to actively see that at play with what Hollywood often considers the default setting for a hero: attractive white dudes. Whether intentional or not (likely not), this is one of the many things that make merely watching this movie a radical departure for the vast scores of passive viewers who show up for the latest action blockbuster sequel on autopilot.


CLOUD ATLAS crosses times from the colonial era to the recent past to the modern day, the near-future of 2144, and the far future that lacks a date stamp. Actors play varied types and races, sometimes linked to other characters in other story threads, whether directly or tangentially. It is about the biggest and smallest of ideas across romance, betrayal, suffering, fulfillment, and countless other microstories. Its six threads never feel like short subject features simply overlaid upon one another for fun. Instead, CLOUD ATLAS is like watching six features at the same time, with the interconnecting tissue feeding a productive progression in them all at once. As someone who studied Anthropology extensively in college, I can confidently assert that this "quantum narrative" delivers on the history and nature of humanity more profoundly than any film I've seen with so much as a similar aim. It's like PLANET OF THE APES combined with 2001, swirled with CHINATOWN and so much of Wilder, plus six or seven other things. The craft of CLOUD ATLAS from all points reveals such immaculate precision and intention that to me, it truly defines a new conception of modern epic storytelling. Much of that is owed to the source material, but it is just as much on the shoulders of "Wachowskykwer". CLOUD ATLAS defines "next level" filmmaking, and delivers ensemble cooperation and trust rarely seen outside the greatest stage acting and production in the world.

There are so many more things I'm sure I could say. I could keep writing this review for days. 

Go in with an open mind or you're doing yourself an incalculable disservice.


Moisés Chiullan / "Monty Cristo"
Arthouse Cowboy
Screen Time podcast on

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Wanted to love this movie

    by Jackson

    But it was too flawed for my taste. Hope you guys like it. First By the way

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:32 p.m. CST

    very much looking forward to this

    by Goodbye_America

    anything that stands outside the norm with such style and confidence is worth seeing.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Wank does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    *It's taken me weeks to get this out. I've started, restarted, and revised this review countless times. I have ended up deleting everything that came before and re-composing from scratch.* No wonder poor old Harry is in the financial crapper if this is how his staff writers work. What a load of pretentious wank - its a fucking film review youre writing not an audition for poet laureate.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:34 p.m. CST

    Wow Halle Berry looks totally Caucasion in that middle pic

    by Titus05

    everyone is gushing over this movie...might have to check it out...still think it's going to bomb at the box office though

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Hmmmm, I want to look forward to this

    by macheesmo3

    and I'm not the sort to pre-judge a movie (unless it looks like obvious dreck like say Beverly Hills Chihuahua). But my inner critic is screaming in my ear "this will be a muddled mess of pretentious garbage ". Maybe it'll be wrong. But I tend to be a little skeptical of films that try and "teach" me something.

  • Saw it last Wed at the Chicago film festival with the directors in attendance. It's definitely a thinking person's film, and i can't help but feel its going to get left in the dust by John Q Public when they find out its not as 'cool' and 'hip' as 'The Matrix movies.' Though I can't help but think that Tom Hanks must have had the greatest experience in a long time making this film. He had several instances that I was just amazed with the character(s) and personalities he did with his work. Though I was a bit more into Doona Bae's character (blame my interest since I'm a Chinese/Caucasian mix), though I'm just waiting for the eventual explosion of upset trolls on imdb when they see the makeup on some actors.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:37 p.m. CST

    oi cobra--kai

    by Monty Cristo

    Movie isn't out in the States yet, and I'm not a staffed writer under deadline. Am an occasional columnist on my own schedule.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:38 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    I went in terrified it'd be self-indulgent and so on. It's radically more than that. Very much worth a shot.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:38 p.m. CST

    knee jerk reactions and the word pretentious

    by Goodbye_America

    why do they go together so well?

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:39 p.m. CST

    kamaji re: racebending

    by Monty Cristo

    I'm chinese/caucasian/latino, and I get exactly what you mean. The dude at has already (wrongly) gotten up in arms over it before seeing the movie. Going to be an interesting dialogue.

  • I mean, why be anything different this go-'round?

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:41 p.m. CST

    I will be seeing it on Saturday.

    by tomandshell

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:48 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Oi Monty, i'm glad to hear youre not getting paid cos you couldnt even afford to use a spellchecker in your nonsense. *Is it wrong to hope I invented the term "trans-existential"? Whom or what may have influenced that combination of concepts in my head? When might I have heard someone use it, now unintentionally "stelaing" it from them?*

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Why does the future always have to be post-apocalyptic?

    by Mugato5150

    Even in the happy happy joy joy future of Star Trek, we still had a nuclear/eugenics war. Even with the Jetsons, they lived above ground and the planet's surface was a wasteland. Can't there be a story where the future is just banal and boring, like it probably will be?

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 6:05 p.m. CST

    Love the amazement that Berry plays "white".

    by Fish Tank

    She's half black, half white, and no one would balk at her playing "black".

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Monte Cristo, you subjectively objectively racist!

    by ray a

    Just kidding! I appreciate your review. Trying to explain it further would be a diservice. Its like the line "No can tell you What the Matrix is, you have to see it for yourself." Anyway I love movies like this. cannot wait!

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 6:12 p.m. CST

    lol @daggor

    by Rob

    But, but Gothika man! Robert Downey Junior said the only good thing about that movie was meeting his future wife on set.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 6:31 p.m. CST


    by macheesmo3

    well, because it's the one's that have the look of "see how important a movie I am" that give me these sorts of reactions prior to seeing them. I have always been of the opinion that a movie works because of it's writing ,it's performances and it's photography/direction. Now, not all of these things have to be spot on (and all of these things can be bad yet the movie is still entertaining like say Redneck Zombies) but if you are going to go the route of "important" as your goal for your film, you are doomed to come off as pretentious,precious, begging the question and or overwrought. I tend to think the most important films are the one's that stayed true to their stories and didn't have to tell everyone how important they are (which is why Crash is such a POS, it tried too hard) but rather just let the audience decide for themselves. (2001, The Godfather, Kane,Jaws, most everything by The Archers...etc) So, those of us who actually give a damn about the art of filmmaking yet don't think it's some "precious commodity for teaching the world about blah blah dogmatic issue of the week" are a bit skeptical of movies like Cloud Atlas. Maybe I will be wrong, it won't be the first, nor last, time.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 6:40 p.m. CST

    All about the skin tone, Fish, "what do I SEEEEEEE?"

    by Keblar

    never mind what I think and feel... those things take objectivity and critical though. Still, Storm was unforgivable, Catwoman was un-unseeable, and her breasts in Swordfish were unremarkable.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 6:40 p.m. CST


    by Keblar

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 6:54 p.m. CST


    by MustGoFaster

    You forgot to add: Jinx was unredeemable. This stupid biyatch has screwed up more franchises than I care to remember. I'd still destroy her ass if given the opportunity, though.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 7:08 p.m. CST

    Saw it on Saturday

    by honavery

    Mostly loved it. Very entertaining, each of the threads could have easily been it's own movie. The Neo-Seoul stuff is particularly cool. Great score too. Must have been a nightmare to edit. It jumps around a lot, but to it's credit I was never confused where and when the film was.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 7:09 p.m. CST


    by broderick crawford

    Just glanced at their article and gotta say that kind of activism doesn't help their cause. Criticizing a movie based on its trailer? Not even waiting to see the final product? Maybe they have a point, maybe they're jumping to conclusions. Maybe the film's depiction of race could start some interesting conversations. Or perhaps the yellowface in the film is uncomfortable. But the commentators at that site seem to be unable to imagine an ambivalent reaction, much less a positive one, to the film. I might support their cause in general, but their tone is one of the reasons why race is such a taboo subject for so many Americans. Still interested in seeing Cloud Atlas.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 7:16 p.m. CST

    Damn, Hugh Grant looks HORRIBLE

    by 3D-Man

    Is that prosthetics, or is that just age catching up with him?

  • I was cautiously excited about this movie, but if it is ANYTHING like The Fountain then it is indeed pretentious crap and I have no interest.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Comparisons to The Fountain

    by honavery

    I found it MUCH more engaging than The Fountain. I didn't find anything pretentious really about this movie. There are a couple of things at the end that could've been a bit less 'on the nose' perhaps.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 7:32 p.m. CST


    by honavery

    I think opinions maybe all over the place on it. My wife didn't care for it at all, and we generally have similar taste in films.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 7:58 p.m. CST

    FWIW, I never found Fountain, pretentious,

    by Keblar

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 8:01 p.m. CST

    Lookin forward to some Racebendin'

    by vnv01

    Only in America would we think that patois sounded "weird" coming out of a Korean actress' mouth. FWIW, all those white guys DO start to blend together after a while!

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 8:02 p.m. CST

    Meant to add, thank God I've never lost someone

    by Keblar

    close as a soulmate, but I think Fountain is a must see fo anyone trying to cope with loss. Heavy handed in the setup, okay I can see that, but I never found it pretentious, even though I'm predisposed to harshly judge Aronofsky -- hated Swan, for example - talk about 2 x 4.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 8:31 p.m. CST

    kinda depressing

    by 2soon2eat

    wish you hadn't brought up race and identity politics, kinda bummed out here

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 8:40 p.m. CST

    It looks unwatchable...

    by GunRunner

    In the late 90s I might have bought into something like this going in, but these types of large, avante garde special effects sci-fi films rarely work, whether it's The Fountain or something like The Tree of Life, they just can't seem to break free of the normal bounds of a 2 hour film.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 8:42 p.m. CST

    a novel that has been considered unfilmable and unadaptable

    by Amy Chasing

    No such thing. Same thing was said about Lord Of The Rings. Geez, even Joyce's Ulysses has a film adaptation. All you need is creative people. That said, I'm hoping Cloud Atlas as a film is a good film first, book adaptation second. Otherwise you get Harry Potter.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 8:59 p.m. CST


    by Nintendarth

    People are connected, as are the things you do. The end. That's the whole point of this movie. It's also total garbage, as was the novel, as the film is sure to be. Pass. Racist yellowface trash movie.

  • They just don't even want to engage it because they know they're in the wrong.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 9 p.m. CST

    Montycristo -

    by Nintendarth

    Yellowface is wrong. It doesn't matter the context. Doesn't matter how respectful the film is. Doesn't matter the meaning. Doesn't matter the motivation. It's offensive. Period. And you don't get to do it without offending. Period. End of discussion. Glad we had this talk.

  • Fuck off. Come back when you get a sense of perspective.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 9:07 p.m. CST

    Fountain and Cloud Atlas

    by Daniel Zelter

    They both "borrowed" from Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix, which you have to pay a fortune on Amazon to get in book form nowadays.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 9:11 p.m. CST

    monty, as i'm sure you know...

    by Detached

    ... there's a reason why attractive white dudes are (or were) default heroes: that's where the audience was. as the audience changes, heroes have changed, and will keep changing, as well.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 9:12 p.m. CST

    Does anyone else think it looks really boring?

    by UMAGA

    I don't know what it is. From what I've seen, with all the time periods, it doesn't really feel like it has a sense of adventure about it.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 9:14 p.m. CST


    by broderick crawford

    Race is a cultural construct, so why talk about it in absolutes? Surely you're more sophisticated than that.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 9:30 p.m. CST

    Dojo boy continues trolling and spewing garbage

    by VanGoghX

    Grow up. Get a life. Find some real people to talk to. Enjoyed the article MC, and looking forward to seeing if Cloud Atlas lives up to the hype.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 9:35 p.m. CST

    @mugato5150 "banal and boring future..."

    by Emperor

    Dude, I don't know what planet you're living on -- but even on the stuff you're smoking, you should be able to discern that our world is anything but boring. Step outside of your door, walk a couple of blocks, and you'll see a world of endless stupidity and strangeness. And the future is only going to be even more strange. If you look at life from a personal perspective, it can well seem boring and banal. But that's only because you've become accustomed to the dullness of your very own individual life. But even a dull and boring life of some individual (who has to live it on a daily basis), can make for a fascinating story for a viewer (or viewers). An ingenious approach to futuristic sci-fi, would be to slow down the pacing occasionally, to reveal mundane lives, unaffected and oblivious to the adventures of the protagonists/antagonists. It's a very basic concept, and it still hasn't been used by Hollywood. Hollywood never ran out of ideas. They just never had any. Let me break it down for you mugato5150, so you get the gist of how "excitingly fucked up" our planet really is: 1) You have a world, that's beautiful, vast, varied, unique and bountiful in resources. Yet its inhabitants are unenlightened half-wits, who worry about chasing chimeras and destroying each other and the environment in the process. Do you think our world would seem boring and dull to an unbiased observer from out-of-space? It would seem like the greatest action/horror film in the history of the universe. And that's in fact what it is. The fact that you deem it dull and boring, is your failure as a human being to question the insanity around you and instead become unaffected and apathetic to such an extent, you've turned into a numb carcass of animated stupidity. 2) You have a world and a people, that have so much potential, and yet almost every single obstacle in our lives, serves to do nothing but quell and hinder that potential. And those obstacles are largely artificial. They're man-made obstacles. Not natural! Think about this for a long fucking time, you ignoramus. This world is not just a fucked up movie extravaganza, it's also an insane asylum for the billions of conditioned slaves who parrot and persecute one another. You have more than enough resources to clothe/feed/shelter every single individual on this planet, several times over, yet you have billions living below the poverty line and about a billion people starving to death as I speak right now. And that's the tip of the iceberg. Don't you think that makes for the most fucked up movie Hollywood could ever produce? I take that back: Even if Hollywood tried, it couldn't come up with such a retarded concept. This means that reality truly is stranger than fiction. That's the reality of the world you're living in, my friend. 3) In Hollywood movies, children rarely are killed. It's considered too offensive for the viewer. But this happens in the real world every single second, many times over. Think about this and ask yourself if this is just "dull and boring," or perhaps the problem is with people like you, who have become so numb and inundated with your own petty problems, that you have neither the energy, nor the time, to devote yourself to doing something useful with your life and for the planet. Planet Earth is very likely, the most entertaining planet in the entire galaxy. But it's a twisted form of entertainment. It's the kind of 'entertainment' that doesn't have a resolution, doesn't have a catharsis, doesn't have a hero saving the day; but rather a train wreck that continues piling up long after the film credits roll. There are no heroes saving the day in the real world. Just a bunch of unenlightened half-wits like you, driveling on AICN about useless shit that means nothing to nobody. And if history is anything to go by, it's only going to get more 'entertaining' in the future. Think about these things, before you blurt out something really stupid again in the future...

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 9:43 p.m. CST

    Correction: out-of-space should be outer space

    by Emperor

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:04 p.m. CST

    fish tank

    by Monty Cristo

    It's that she never DOES play those roles.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:07 p.m. CST

    thepoetbroderickcrawford re:racebending

    by Monty Cristo

    I couldn't agree more, and I'm a HUGE advocate of their Last Airbender crusade. They make tremendously uninformed and rather stridently ignorant assumptions. I expected more out of them.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:08 p.m. CST

    3d-man re: prosthetics & Hugh Grant's look

    by Monty Cristo

    There were prostheses used throughout, even in sequences with more "natural" looks. Not sure about the segment in the pic above. He actually looks to be in great shape when the images are in motion.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:11 p.m. CST

    vnv01 re: patois

    by Monty Cristo

    I thought it sounded awesome coming out of an actress who is most certainly not fluent in English. The spread of roles outside the actors' pidgeonholes was one of my favorite things the movie did.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:13 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    Pay to go see it, and give it a half hour. If you don't sit through, they'll refund you. I've spoken to other mega-doubters. I'd wager it'll lock you in.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:16 p.m. CST

    nintendarth re: racebending

    by Monty Cristo

    They've very directly addressed it, and quite intentionally so. They've been touting how they cross gender and race all over the place.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:17 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    I've got loads of perspective. Show you mine if you show me yours.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:18 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    So there have never been people of other races who want to see themselves represented as something other than servants or villains?

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:19 p.m. CST

    vangoghx - thx

    by Monty Cristo

    It's a lot more interesting and fulfilling than some assume. They'll be the judge when they see it.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:29 p.m. CST

    monty, you're missing the point...

    by Detached

    ... which is $$ of course everyone wants heroes (though it does get a little silly when a hero can only be someone who looks like you). however, here, my point is the simple reality that movie are a business, and most of the moviegoing public was white, and, well, you can do the math from there.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:47 p.m. CST


    by ApneicMonkey

    No, you didn't invent that term. I hope that puts your mind at ease.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 10:57 p.m. CST

    Of course the main agenda is to crush gender roles here...

    by nephilim138

    since Larry got his twig and berries steamrolled into a vagina.

  • Oct. 22, 2012, 11:10 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    Of course I didn't. You miss the point of the device I was using, which is my fault. A thousand apologies.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 12:28 a.m. CST

    Monty Cristo and Muldoon - WTF????

    by wannabedirector

    Monty Cristo - You and Muldoon work for Harry fukin Knowles, one of the most established movie geeks in the visible universe who says your good shit, and you have established yourselves as some badass fukin writers with some unique perspectives that geek out on movies too, everytime you jump on the forums and get it a dickfight with some asshole it water-downs your viewpoint, fukin stick to yer guns and let them cayotes fight fer them scraps- stay out of it!!!

  • Please put the kool aid down

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 12:41 a.m. CST

    i wish i had something intelligent to say

    by Anthony Torchia

    The sum of the squares of the two sides of a right triangle is equal to the ... oh never mind I expected this movie to suck, everything post-Matrix I has sucked. I will be happy to be wrong

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 12:52 a.m. CST


    by wannabedirector

    ......only if you have the balls of course, and i would have to say that most of you don't and will never have the fukin sack to look at yourself and ask what the fuck have you done lately??? Jak fukin shit, continue to hate as you hate yourself....I mean why would a shallow ignorant asshole even think about seein a movie like this, its like Putin all of a sudden changing his mind and listening to pussy riot....All of you get the fuk outta here you fukin twats

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 1:05 a.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    I've found that responding to people is a good thing for my Talkbacks, fostering an actual dialogue, which can be fun and entertaining, whether directed at a person who seems nice and the most unreasonable troll, in different and delightful ways. Trolls don't hurt my feelings, not in the least. They do, however, scare off decent, reasonable commenters.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 1:20 a.m. CST

    love that in one of the stories

    by smackfu

    Hanks plays John Travolta during his 'I'm not even pretending to be straight anymore' phases

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 1:48 a.m. CST

    well then theres that to look forward to. sigh.

    by dahveed1972

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 1:50 a.m. CST

    i am going to see this while tripping on acid

    by shalashaska

    sue me

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 1:54 a.m. CST

    it was mushrooms for speed racer

    by shalashaska

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 2:21 a.m. CST

    This won't be as good as Speed Racer


  • Oct. 23, 2012, 3:16 a.m. CST

    @Mr skippy-the-wondermule

    by albert comin

    The Pythagorean Theorem is actually a very smart thing, since it took mankind thousands of years to figure it out. Many kids in school today still don't!

  • God forbid a movie challenges your intelligence and makes you raise up to the challenge. No, all movies should be "dumb fun" (contradiction in terms if there was ever one) because, like, nobody goes to the movies to feel smart, do they? (and what passes for smart today is tripe like "Prometheus"). Thank the movie gods that Stanley Kubrick wasn't too found on that dumb fun crap thing.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 3:56 a.m. CST


    by macheesmo3

    look the person that no one wants to get stuck talking to at a party is here! great............ grow up One day you will understand that all of these things that make you SO ANGRY aren't worth a flying caterpillar shit. They aren't. Life is about enjoyment (or yer doing it wrong) it's about learning and appreciating. if you are gonna spend most of it trying to find reasons to get outraged...well one day, yer gonna wake up and realize that you have been an unbearable douchebag to most of the world. It's a movie dude, sometimes black folks play white folks, sometimes the bad guys all have british accents, sometimes there are bad guys who are gay....(I know crazy right?) and SOMETIMES PEOPLE WHO AREN'T ASIAN PLAY ...ASIAN PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what's next ? Nebraska Face? I can hear it now........" that feller is not a cornhusker, they are shipping in Minnesotans!! dammit woman I told you this would happen!!!!!"

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 4:10 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    vangog you sock puppet, get Monty's soft cock out of your mouth and let him concentrate... oh dear too late - hes had to start his review over again. *It's taken me weeks to get this out. I've started, restarted, and revised this review countless times. I have ended up deleting everything that came before and re-composing from scratch.*

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 4:13 a.m. CST

    Nice to see Hugo Weaving in drag again

    by thelordofhell

    Although his Asian accent was atrocious. And the reviewer is right about Doona Bae, she steals every scene she's in. She should get an Oscar nomination for this. She also looks good naked.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 4:26 a.m. CST

    I'm With Cobra, on this one.

    by Nichole

    Write a review, for fucks sake. That is why we are all here, right. Yeah, I'm sure this movie re-wired your synapses, to the point, you could not think straight. It is a little, shall we say, redundant. Y

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 5:13 a.m. CST

    @lord was that Hugo in drag or ...

    by IamHERE

    the wachowski brother? hahahha god he makes for an ugly girl!

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 5:19 a.m. CST

    Bunch of cynical mofos on here. Jebus Christ!!

    by Russman

    I'm opening a barrel of pity for some of you fools.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 7:47 a.m. CST

    I love the Fountain.

    by knowthyself

    We need more films like that. Cloud Atlas sounds right up my alley.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 7:58 a.m. CST

    Nice To See A Racially Diverse Film For A Change...

    by PoppaRotzi

    ...other than the "Fast and Furious" franchise, what other mainstream Hollywood films offer up multi-racial/ethnic, and non-stereotypical, casts?

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Hugo Weaving plays a woman who is truly a force of nature...

    by TheMachinist

    Um, Mr. Cristo? I think you've got a typo.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 8:37 a.m. CST


    by LiquidHotMagma

    re: Hugo Weaving. That wasn't a typo.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 9:34 a.m. CST

    This TB is proof we're all fucked...

    by Andrew Coleman

    So many stupid people out there. You guys bitch about Hollywood and hate on every product they put out. They try and make something that at least is visually different... And you guys hate on it. Great go see Pitch Perfect you fucking tools. I don't buy it anymore. I think most people on here aren't even geeks. Just assholes who line up for Blockbusters and teen flicks... When it comes to real movies they are either jealous because they can't make movies or too stupid to see them so they hate blindly.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST

    myphdisdoom, could not agree more. I shall see Cloud Atlas.

    by Nichole

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 10:51 a.m. CST

    A L I E N > P R O M E T H E U S > A L I E N S

    by Nichole

    Yup, Time to watch it again.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 11:37 a.m. CST

    The TB's hate blockbusters and art films.

    by knowthyself

    They hate all films.

  • And I'd like to thank Monty for being really involved in the TB's. How many from AICN do it to this level..?

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 12:10 p.m. CST


    by mukhtabi

    Total Agreement. I plan on seeing Cloud Atlas. If I like it I'm going to take the girlfriend, who's been dying for a film experience. Fuck the haters.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 12:27 p.m. CST

    As long as were far away from Southland Tales territory, I'm good.

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    This and Life Of Pi look to be the visual delights of the season.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 1:12 p.m. CST

    myphis - there are still geeks here...

    by Darth Macchio

    Sometimes it's really easy to tell the real geeks from the poseurs...astounding to me that there actually are 'geek poseurs' but it must be true given how quickly they resort to naval gazing self-loathing and dime-store psycho-babble transference. the types that go: "You NERDS make me laugh! haha! nerdrage! haha!" if this is Times Square and people of all sorts are having a random group conversation as opposed to what this really is, a movie geek's website, by and utterly for movie GEEKS, with a "room" full of movie geeks...some of which are clearly ashamed of their 'geekdom' and have to attempt to separate and validate themselves by hating on others for what they themselves are. if you self-loathing types on this site were politicians, you'd predictably and pathetically be pushing for anti-nerdism amendments in the constitution.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 1:20 p.m. CST

    montycristo -

    by Nintendarth

    No. SAYING you're doing yellowface isn't the same thing as addressing how offensive it is. When I say they're not addressing the racebending, I'm saying they refuse to acknowledge the offense, refuse to discuss how Asian actors were left out of the casting process (except, apparently, as robot sex dolls). THAT is what I'm saying they aren't addressing, the Charlie Chan history of Hollywood. Where's the discussion on the cultural impact of yellowface, whitewashing and racebending?

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 1:21 p.m. CST


    by Nintendarth

    I don't hate blockbusters and art films. What I will freely admit to hating are movies that position themselves as either, or both, by their own hollow statements. LOOKIT ME I'M A BLOCKBUSTER ART FILM! That's one of the many problems I have with CLOUD ATLAS.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 1:28 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    I hope none of this is directed at me... Read my posts I dont hate CLOUD ATLAS, I simply think that its a bad joke that a guy can take WEEKS to write one movie review - WTF?! And then when they finally submit that review it has spelling mistakes in!! Imagine the editor of a newspaper waiting for his copy to arrive in the film review section... and waiting.. and waiting for WEEKS for one review. I know this site embraces amateurism but Monty here is redefining the term.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 1:32 p.m. CST


    by knowthyself

    That's all in your head nintendarth. It's just a film, they release it, and the film makers have mostly good intentions on delivering a solid film. This thing you put in your head about what you think they're putting out there is all you. You see what you want to see. I see an ambitious film made from the heart. That's why Cloud Atlas is getting my money this weekend. If that puts you off then I don't know what you want. No commercials? Zero reviews? What would make you happy? For a film to be quiet and pretend it's not needed to be watched?

  • And I would love to watch this film over, and over, and over again. And I want the endless versions of myself from infinite parallel worlds to watch it as well, ad infinitum, with a Boba Fett action shoved up their asses.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 2:02 p.m. CST


    by schizoschizo

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 2:04 p.m. CST

    d o o d

    by Monty Cristo

    I've an unnatural tolerance for trolling:

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 2:07 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    On racebending, I'd recommend you see the film, come back, and then we both argue from the standpoint of having seen it. I respect your opinion and am not saying you're wrong so much as saying "let's both be on the same footing". The "look at me, look at me" nature of the marketing, well...that's simply how movies are marketed, yeah? They don't often craft advertisements like "see it if you feel like it. whatever........."

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Hey scirocco - guess what's coming out on November 11th on Blu Ray?

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    Funny, we were just talking about it.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 2:10 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    Taking weeks for something to post after seeing it is actually not uncommon, especially when there is a review embargo. I'll repeat once again that the movie is not yet out in release, and newspapers aren't publishing their reviews until this week either. As for minor spelling errors, they happen, and get corrected quickly. Go fuck yourself. You'll feel so much better.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 2:13 p.m. CST


    by knowthyself

    You forgot to mention the AMAZING score.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 2:34 p.m. CST

    I predict the cloud atlas sextet music track.

    by knowthyself

    To be used in movie trailers for the next decade.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 3:01 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    cue my immediate "aw CRAP, I knew I missed something great!" reaction. [goes to buy score]

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Great review. Plus, earworm!

    by MoistMuskyCamelToe

    Anybody that can drop Ohrwurm in a movie review gets my German ass in the theater seat every time. Monty, thank you for the well thought out review. I'll go in to see Cloud Atlas with an open mind, and enjoy it for what it is. Also, no comment from me on race issues. I think Krauts have resoundingly lost that privilege. Ahem.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 4:41 p.m. CST

    Psyched for any Wachowski works...altho

    by Darth Macchio

    ...I've yet to see a "great" movie with Halle Berry and that includes "Monster Ball". She's cute and capable but not the brilliant thespian so many apparently seem to think she is. I'd, of course, be delighted to be wrong on that. On the other hand, I've yet to see a bad Wachowski's movie (and yes, that includes both Matrix sequels), most often their works are at least good, if not, uniformly excellent..looking forward to this.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 6:45 p.m. CST

    FYI on the score

    by honavery

    Released today, streaming on Spotify now.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Its WATERWORLD all over again... it smells of that film.

    by TheKiller7

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 7:20 p.m. CST

    Does look like a new WATERWORLD.

    by Nintendarth


  • Oct. 23, 2012, 7:52 p.m. CST


    by PoppaRotzi

    I actually enjoyed Waterworld!! What's up with that??

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 8:47 p.m. CST


    by Emperor

    I have such a powerful effect on you, evidently. Who is the master, and who is the slave?

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 9:23 p.m. CST

    What is it with geeks and Asian chicks?

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    Seriously, it put me off ever dating an Asian woman, the obsession Western geeks have with Asian women because they like Anime and Manga and Samurai and Wuxia...

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 9:25 p.m. CST

    To the haters -- Cloud Atlas intends to do exactly what The Matrix intended to do

    by Hardboiled Wonderland

    Entertain and open minds/hearts. No more, no less.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 10:45 p.m. CST

    About the "race bending"

    by konar

    I haven't seen the movie (yet) or read the book, but even I can tell from what little I've read that the reason they use the same actors playing different characters/races is to reinforce the idea that we are all connected. It's a concept, not a conspiracy. Grow up.

  • Oct. 23, 2012, 10:59 p.m. CST

    This looks as appealing as the Adventures of Pluto Nash

    by chien_sale

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 3:37 a.m. CST

    Why did they hire Hugh Grant to play Eric Roberts?

    by Mysterious_Volvo

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 8:04 a.m. CST

    It could be....

    by Dheep

    It could be simply Tragic - not enough Explosions. SO boring. You want me to follow SIX storylines? I can barely follow two. AS for The Hobbit - don't know if i'll be able to take the "Barrel of Mirth" provided by the gaggle of Disney Hobbits. So cute and Lovable. Ughh!

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 8:54 a.m. CST


    by TheMachinist

    This movie now has my attention. Even more so than Life Of Pi, now that I think about it.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 9:14 a.m. CST

    @Mr hardboiled wonderland

    by albert comin

    Idf you think asian females only have attraction to the geeks, you should seriously revise your sexual orientation, because the fetish about asian women is very widespread among western men, and it it's universal not just limited to geek culture and has nothing to do with manga and anime. Western guys love asian chicks because they are hot! This thing shouldn't even be questioned by any western heterosexual male.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 9:16 a.m. CST

    @Mr popparotzi

    by albert comin

    There's absolutly nothing wrong in enjoying "Waterworld". Hold your ground and stick to your guns, for your cause is just.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 10:29 a.m. CST

    Words can barely express my lack of interest in this one...

    by ScriptCunt

    A rental... maybe.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 12:55 p.m. CST

    It's like

    by Pat

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 1 p.m. CST

    It's like "Short Cuts"

    by Pat

    But with 100% less Huey Lewis cock. Looks interesting though. Might catch it at one of those AMC Best Picture fests if gets a best picture nod. I think it will because it has Tom Hanks in it. Anyone remember "Incredibly Loud and Really Fucking Stupid" from last year? Didn't think so.

  • Oct. 24, 2012, 2:31 p.m. CST


    by Jeff Calman

    I am always bemused by comments like yours. There are dozens of films I am not interested in. I've never once felt the need to visit message boards devoted to them and profess said indifference. What motivates you?

  • Oct. 25, 2012, 1:38 p.m. CST


    by Nintendarth

    You know what motivates us to say we aren't going to see it? The fact that absolutely everyone is screaming that we SHOULD. It's practically an act of REBELLION on a site like this to say you're not going to see HOLY MOTORS or CLOUD ATLAS, and to articulate WHY. This is especially true when everyone says Hey, I know it looks like a pile of pretentious garbage, but it's really NOT. It's SPECIAL. Yoiu HAVE to see it. You MUST. Landru has spoken! Plus, there's a special kind of satisfaction in saying NO! when you're pretty much 100 percent aware that the viewing public, of which everyone who sees a movie is a part, speaks in one united voice to tell Hollywood that they are NOT buying what Hollywood is selling. It's a very strong feeling of satisfaction, in fact, when you can join with intelligent moviegoers and speak out in one united front to say Hey, Hollywood, we're NOT going to accept HOLY MOTORS. We're NOT going to accept CLOUD ATLAS. We're NOT going to accept LIFE OF PI. We're NOT going to see DREDD! We're NOT going to see ATTACK THE BLOCK! We're NOT going to see KICK-ASS! We're NOT going to see SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE BOX-OFFICE. We're NOT going to see SNAKES ON A PLANE! And, most especially, WE'RE NOT GOING TO SEE -JOHN CARTER-! Oh, and for the record, no, we're not going to see LONE RANGER either. Sorry, Disney. You've flopped-up again. But yes, we will see INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. It's also satisfying to see ads for a movie like CLOUD ATLAS after everyone has done all their work and the sites are madly promoting it and pwesents are flowing and to KNOW that if you were a producer you would tell them they simply couldn't make the movie for more than the likely $9-15 million opening weekend's total tally as the film's entire budget because a movie these days needs to make its budget back in the first couple of weekends. It's a good feeling to know if you were up there playing the producer game you'd be capable of making smarter decisions than te people who actually play with production money. Because anyone with a brain knows CLOUD ATLAS is headed for the discount $5.00 Blu-Ray bin. It could be the most magical cinemagoing experience of the last 50 years and it would still be headed for that bin. There's simply no audience on Earth for that film. It doesn't tell a story anyone really wants to hear. It doesn't offer anything new in terms of 3D or visual spectacle. People have rejected the whole wow-look-lots-of-ships CGI technology as a whole and the movie is headed for COSMIC flop levels, destined to crash and burn harder than a lot of films that DIDn'T deserve it. Unfortunately, just about EVERYTHING connected with CLOUD ATLAS looks like it was made - per the so-called vision of the Washawskis who started their arc of megastardom with bullet time and ended it with penis time - with an eye toward pleasing the fanboy audience that made MATRIX and duster jacket sales skyrocket to the top. Except that the fanboys didn't do that. Normal moviegoers did. Because fanboys, as calculated over and over again, account for about $30 million dollars. Oops.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 1:01 a.m. CST


    by Jeff Calman

    So, you could've saved a lot of time and energy by typing "Because it makes us feel important. Because in our sweaty, masturbatory fantasies, Hollywood executives are reading our posts here and deciding which movies to make." Guess what? They don't care. They care about receipts. Not attending the movie will speak louder than any post you ever make here, no matter how many caps and exclamation points you put in it.

  • Oct. 26, 2012, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Anyone remember "Incredibly Loud and Really Fucking Stupid"


    Damn. That's exactly what that movie should have been called. Perfect.