Trailer Park: ‘Cloud Atlas’

It’s something that would have been hard to conceive of just 5-10 years ago. But the filmmaking landscape is now so fractured that apparently even quixotic projects like this are able to line up millions of dollars in funding and movie stars galore.

The hard-to-categorize adaptation of David Mitchell’s mind- and time-twister of a novel Cloud Atlas — which stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Keith David, Jim Broadbent, is directed by Tom Tykwer of Run Lola Run fame and written by the Wachowskis (The Matrix) — has been winding its way toward the big screen for a while. Now with an October release date set, the first trailer has been released. This could either be one of those epic disasters of overreach or the kind of thing that leaves people just shattered.

Great, terrible, or mediocre in its final execution, what can be seen in the trailer just takes your breath away:

Coming Attractions: A Third ‘Hobbit’ Film?

Deadline reported yesterday that Peter Jackson is considering making The Hobbit into a trilogy. Jackson is considering taking the Appendices that were published at the back of The Return of the King (which he calls essentially notes for a planned rewrite of The Hobbit which would have incorporated a lot of material that Tolkien came up when writing his later trilogy) and using that as a basis for the third film.

For Lord of the Rings film junkies, this might be good news; more the better. And the studio would certainly be delighted. For those of us who are fans of the mythos as a whole and didn’t necessarily think that Return of the King was enriched by its fourth ending, it could be a potential sign of trouble: empowered auteur on the loose! Jackson’s artistry as a whole has been terrific, but it does begin to wear on one after a while in a way that Tolkien’s dense style never quite does. The films are never quite able to hit those light, cheery notes as well as the books can, focusing over-much on the battles and melodrama.

Maybe instead of a third Hobbit film, they should be talking about doing something with The Silmarillion? Yes, it’s more mythology than fiction, but plenty of story to go around. And let’s be honest, it would be incredible to see what Jackson could come with for the sacking of Gondolin and the tragedy of Beren and Luthien.

Trailer Park: ‘Django Unchained’

In this strangely productive phase of Quentin Tarantino’s career — remember those six years he took off between Jackie Brown and Kill Bill: Vol. 1 — one has to take the great with the not-so-great. The man has never been accused of trying too little, and so for every neo-masterpiece like Inglorious Basterds there’s an overdone mess like Kill Bill: Vol. 2.

With this in mind, one needs to be sanguine about what awaits us in his Christmas release, Django Unchained. Certainly there’s something to be eager for in a film that looks to be part spaghetti western homage and part blaxploitation revenge flick (though the gleaming Robert Richardson cinematography doesn’t look quite grimy enough for a proper homage), and also features Samuel L. Jackson with a frightening set of eyebrows and the prospect of Leonardo di Caprio having more fun on screen than Christoph Waltz.

Either way, the new trailer is set to James Brown, so it works.