And so begins the last couples’ brunch of the 21st century…
Almost perfectly designed to come and go quickly from theaters, leaving mostly silence but a few nattering and persistent fans in its wake, It’s a Disaster is a tart comedy for chilly times. From my review at Film Journal International:
The current vogue for apocalypse stories gets a refreshing redo in Todd Berger’s nimble comedy about a miserable brunch that turns only mildly more sour after the realization that everyone is just hours away from death. The lack of both zombies and stars, not to mention the inside-out mockery of genre tropes, will keep wider audiences at a distance. But strong word of mouth could result in a small cult hit, at least among those who don’t mind a film whose attitude toward its doomed characters is simple and damning: Good riddance…
It’s a Disaster opened yesterday in very limited release; find it however and wherever you can.
Here’s the trailer:
David Mitchell’s 2004 novel Cloud Atlas is one of those books that has been long assumed to be unfilmmable. But then the Wachowskis apparently noticed Natalie Portman reading it while they were shooting V for Vendetta and decided, why not? For good measure they brought on Run Lola Run‘s Tom Tykwer for additional directing help. The result is a nearly three-hour karmic sci-fi epic that just keeps hitting crescendo after crescendo.
My full review is at PopMatters:
Eager to entertain and suffused with nervous energy, Cloud Atlas spans many continents and about half a millennia of human history. As faithful to David Mitchell’s novel as any $100 million enterprise could be, it’s the most daring, thrilling, satisfying, swiftly churning engine of big screen adventure to come along in some time. It even works in a halfway decent Soylent Green joke, which one would imagine wasn’t possible anymore. And oh yes, Hugh Grant plays a bloodthirsty cannibal…
Cloud Atlas opens tonight in wide release; check it out in IMAX if possible.
You can see the extended trailer here:
Good enough that Colson Whitehead is covering the Olympics (somewhat post-facto) for Grantland. (His conversations with the W.G. Sebald app beat most of what NBC had to say.)
But even better that once his first piece actually takes him to London itself, Whitehead’s thoughts immediately turn towards the apocalypse:
…I started scoring events in terms of what they’d offer in a human-annihilation-type scenario. Offensewise, archery skills seemed like an obvious asset at first. But the archers’ high-tech bows wouldn’t survive a day of jumping off roofs, tromping through sewers, and escaping cannibal hordes. The bows were items of cruel but fragile beauty, with their carbon limbs and polyethylene strings, their V-bar extenders and side-rod stabilizer doohickeys. Great for the marksman’s art, but no good in a volume-kill scenario. You’d be better off with a simple machete. The qualifying heats made it clear that swimming is a good life skill or whatever, but only marathon-distance swimming was going to help you make it to the island after a squabble over rations or sex resulted in your tiny escape vessel overturning. Triathlon, I decided, with its endurance super-combo of swimming, biking, and running, solved multiple problem areas. I made a note to see it in person.
Whitehead published his own take on the zombie apocalypse last year, Zone One. Not so much archery in it, sadly enough—he left that to Suzanne Collins.
Filed under Books, Nota Bene