If you read the huge story in The New Yorker last fall about the making of Cloud Atlas — three directors, a gigantic budget, a protracted development process — you would probably assume that the final result would be a mess. And it is. Kind of.
Cloud Atlas is based on a very fancy novel, with six story lines taking place over a span of hundreds of years. The movie's conceit is to have the same actors pop up in all six story lines, sometimes playing opposite-sex characters, sometimes playing characters of other ethnicities (the latter choice leading to criticism of the film for putting several non-Asian actors in "yellowface"). Unlike the book, the film cuts among the story lines from scene to scene, which can be disorienting, but the effect works. Kind of. Cloud Atlas isn't the kind of film one can recommend unreservedly — it's crazy long; it's also just crazy — but I'll say this for it: I was never bored.
New and Notable
Alexandra Daddario (Parenthood) learns that traveling to Texas to collect an inheritance may not be worth it.
The Round Up
Jean Reno stars in this story of Jewish internment in France during the second World War.
Profile of a Killer
Is there anything a serial killer loves more than a demented cat-and-mouse game? This variation involves the murderer challenging a criminal profiler to stop him, using profiling techniques, which I thought would be what the profiler would be doing in any case, but I'm not an expert.
After breaking up with his girlfriend, a musician impetuously sets out on a road trip to meet an interesting woman he "met" online.
"In Theaters" VOD Picks
Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth, and Katie Aselton try to get away from it all on a remote island, only to find three guys already there hunting who aren't as friendly as they seem.
Two cops — one American (Kellan Lutz), one Indonesian — join forces to take down a weirdly accented terrorist with an absolutely crazy-looking upper lip (Mickey Rourke).
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week: Fast/Furious
With the sixth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise burning rubber as it tears into theaters next week, here's your chance to rewatch the first five movies! Or just the last, best one, which not only brings Vin Diesel back, but puts him opposite the Rock. FINALLY.
Weird Indie of the Week
Shaun of the Dead writer-director Edgar Wright produced this black comedy (on demand the same day it hits theaters) about a new couple whose vacation takes kind of a grisly turn.
Once again, a movie has to tell us that if a house seems too good to be true, at least one and probably several people were murdered in it.