The Movie Waffler New Release Reviews - Cloud Atlas / Crawl / Earthbound | The Movie Waffler

New Release Reviews - Cloud Atlas / Crawl / Earthbound

Cloud Atlas
Directed by: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, James D'Arcy
The Wachowskis team up with Tykwer for a story so sprawling, its initial trailer ran almost six minutes.
There are six stories set in different periods of time, all featuring the same core of actors playing reincarnations of their characters. This means we get Berry in reverse minstrel white-face, D'Arcy in Charlie Chan-esque Asian make-up, and most ridiculous of all, Weaving as a female nurse. The latter makes a mockery of the film's central theme of reincarnation, positing the idea that if a man is reincarnated as a woman she will be exceedingly masculine. Broadbent, for some unexplained reason, always seem to be reincarnated as Jim Broadbent.
This film contains so many of the worst elements of modern American cinema: its packed with bad CG, the running time is close to three hours, there's far too much dialogue, the voice-overs are riddled with exposition, and it stars Tom Hanks. Like last year's 'To Rome With Love', the film makes the mistake of running all six story-lines together which means you'll have lost interest in the lot of them by the twenty minute mark as not one of the six is remotely engaging.
On paper, tasking such avant-garde film-makers with adapting such a plot heavy novel as David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas' seemed like a disaster. On screen, it's an unmitigated disaster.

Cloud Atlas (2012) on IMDb 7.8/10
Directed by: Paul China
Starring: Georgina Haig, Andy Barclay, Paul Bryant, Lauren Dillon
A bar owner is double-crossed by the Croatian hitman he hired in this low budget Aussie thriller.
Heavily inspired by 'Blood Simple' and 'Red Rock West', director China does a decent job of building tension but the story simply lacks enough meat to keep viewers interested. It's never made clear what exactly is occurring here, there just isn't enough character motivation revealed. Why did the hitman double-cross his client? Why does he hang around the Haig's house instead of fleeing? These sort of questions are left hanging while instead we get needless time-wasting scenes which add nothing. 
As a director, China does an adequate job but, as a screenwriter he's sadly lacking. Lead actress Haig stands out in an otherwise bland role.

Crawl (2011) on IMDb 5.0/10
Directed by: Paul Brennan
Starring: Rafe Spall, David Morrissey, Jenn Murray
At age eleven, Joe (Spall) learns from his dying father (Morrissey) that he is in fact an alien from a far off world. He must find a human mate but only one in every million earth girls are compatible. When Maria (Murray) enters his life, he realizes she is one such girl but there are forces at work trying to scupper his romantic plans.
As an Irish movie fan, it depresses me how awful my country's cinematic output is. For some inexplicable reason, we just don't seem capable of creating average, let alone great, cinema. We're known around the world for our sense of humor yet comedy is the one genre we constantly fail at. Brennan's film doesn't contain one single laugh in its strained running time. It looks slightly better than the average Irish film thanks to a nice use of color but that's really all it has going for it.

Earthbound (2012) on IMDb 5.8/10