Tag: wachowski

Cloud Atlas

by on Feb.12, 2017, under Movie Reviews

cloud atlasMultiple intertwined stories from different timelines told simultaneously with numerous actors playing various parts. Confused yet? Yep, me too. I was able to follow along but due to the ambitious nearly 3 hour length of the film, I found myself not caring much towards the end. While clearly an intensive endeavor for everyone involved, they seem to overreach on this one and end up with an exhausting, confusing mess that keeps changing the minute you get a handle on what’s happening only to offer that same formula repeatedly.

Presented by The Wachowskis (from The Matrix trilogy), Cloud Atlas is marked as one of the most expensive independent films of all time. It’s also unfortunately one of the biggest flops as well. It’s a shame, but I see why as while I appreciate the challenge that was undertaken with this project, its delivery is where it falls short of what could’ve been a compelling presentation. I think my biggest complaint is how often it changes from one scene to the other. The problem isn’t just the scene change but the way you change to a whole different character with a different storyline in a different time period, which happens a lot. Every time you connect with what’s going on, you’re thrown off-balance by another scene switch.

There is such a thing as over thinking a film and over-intellectualizing the process in terms of how you deliver it. Cloud Atlas is a perfect example of this (with a $100M price tag). The filmmakers obviously didn’t consider how the audience would experience this and there was a disconnect there that I would guess they’re still licking their wounds from.

The lineup is truly impressive and there are some great deliveries here. However, I saw some instances of what felt like the actors were spreading themselves thin at times. Tom Hanks seemed a little worn down trying different dialects that weren’t always super intelligible. The writing was something that influenced this but other actors played it a bit straighter which seemed to help maintain strong deliveries. Hanks appeared to be trying a little too hard here and there. Halle Berry is hit or miss at times throughout too. The 2 actors I thought were strongest were Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving. You have to give credit to all the talented people who played multiple roles here, that’s a challenge no matter what level you’re at. The cast includes Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Keith David, James D’Arcy, and Ben Whishaw.

If you’ve got the endurance and like to challenge yourself, you might want to check it out.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Jupiter Ascending

by on Jun.19, 2016, under Movie Reviews

jupiter ascendingJupiter Ascending is the latest sci-fi feature offering from the Wachowski siblings (creators of The Matrix). A self-indulgent mess, this $176M disaster (yep, you read that amont right) tanked badly and for good reasons…

Let’s start with the film’s high points first, visually it’s beautiful. The production design is truly impressive in scope and vision and explains largely why the project’s budget was so outrageously high. The space environments they’ve created along with the ships, costumes and sets have a beautiful, modern extravagance that underpins the problems with this movie. It feels self indulgent, which is part of the point I’m sure given the nature of some of the characters but it also permeates throughout the storyline and some of the performances as well as the direction.

The story is about the 20-30-something-ish Jupiter, who finds herself working with her family as they struggle to make ends meet by cleaning people’s houses and living a very hum-drum life. In the meantime, there are humans living out in the vastness of space that are secretly controlling our fates through their “ownership” of our planets. These humans look down on us regular humans as a sort of livestock to fulfill their desire for immortality. Through the course of the story, it’s discovered that Jupiter is the reincarnation of one these elite humans and that she’s a threat to those in power. Because of who she is, the elites target her for assassination and the plot unfolds.

The story seems to play a secondary priority to the effects. The main plot is very hacky and formulaic, nothing innovative with the main character having things mostly happen to her without much motivated action on her part. She just sort of wanders from one incident to the other controlled by outside forces kind of pushing her along, it makes it hard to sympathize or identify with her. The dialog is by the numbers and feels phoned in most of the time by the talent with a few exceptions here and there. Even Sean Bean seemed like he was just going along for the ride.

And that’s another problem, the performances of the actors seem forced across the board. Channing Tatum plays the part of Caine Wise who is Jupiter’s protector. One of my issues with him was the design of his character. I’m not sure what race he’s supposed to be but he looks like the result of a mating between an elf and a wolf so it’s hard to take him seriously. His performance seemed a bit strained too as did Mila Kunis’ portrayal of the main character. I wonder if they could tell the project was doomed from the start. The only actor really pouring it on was Eddie Redmayne as the main baddie Balem Abrasax. He comes off obnoxiously pretentious, to the point of barely being able to watch him on screen which effected the realism of his portrayal for me. His cartoony overacting turned out to be a distraction.

The Wachowskis wrote and directed and maybe need to go back to the basics of putting a good story first along with strong performances and worry about the effects after that.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Ninja Assassin

by on Jan.12, 2010, under Movie Reviews

Directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) and produced by The Wachowski Bros. (The Matrix Trilogy), Ninja Assassin is the first karate movie we’ve seen in awhile have a major theatrical run in the states.

The writing of the film is the usual fare – the star student of a master ninja trainer decides to go rogue after he becomes unhappy with

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