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Channing Tatum doesn't know what Jupiter Ascending was either

But seriously, what was it?
Jun 18
// Matthew Razak
Anyone who saw Jupiter Ascending probably had the question, "What the actual f**k?" run through their minds at some point. Evidently Channing Tatum had that exact same thought while making it.  During a Reddit AMA t...

Review: Jupiter Ascending

Feb 06 // Matthew Razak
[embed]218920:42196:0[/embed] Jupiter AscendingDirectors: The WachowskisRated: PG-13Release Date: February 6, 2015  It's not that Jupiter Ascending is bad in concept, it's that it is truly horrible in execution. The plot is layered, deep and complex, but not in the right ways. The Wachowski's clearly had a world they wanted to create and it has some really cool concepts, but unlike their previous films they're unable to establish this new world at all. There's so much to take in and they do a messy job of establishing the universe.  Here's the general gist of Jupiter Ascending's sci-fi world. Humans didn't start on earth and have been around for ages. They've developed a serum that keeps them young, but it's derived from harvesting other humans so in order to get "livestock" the original humans find inhabital worlds and blend their DNA with local inhabitants. They then let that world mature to full population and harvest it. Earth is one of those worlds and it is owned by a company run by three siblings who inherited it from their mother. Like all great space operas there is drama in the family with head son Balem Abrasax (Eddi Redmayne) leading the pack of three. DNA and gene splicing play a big, awkward role in the film -- one that could have been really interesting if it wasn't so mired in the rest of the movie's desperate attempts to feel like a cohesive whole. That's where Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) comes in. Once in a while a person's DNA is basically fully duplicated. The space humans know this and in their wills will bequeath things to them. Jones, and earthling, happens to be the Abrasax siblings mother's duplicate and so all her belongings go to her and that includes the earth. This makes her a threat so Balem goes after her, but not before Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a fallen Legion member who is now a bounty hunter and is also part wolf, catches her for his younger brother. Cue even more complex plotting, stupid decisions and Mila Kunis cowering in a ball or screaming and you've got yourself the makings of a space opera catastrophe. It's possible you've read the above plot description and asked yourself what the hell is going on. That's pretty much what the screenplay seems to be asking itself. The film implodes upon itself with illogical moment on top of illogical moment, often sacrificing the story in order to deliver a stunning visual. The Wachowski's clearly have so much they wanted to do in this world, but not enough time or skill to do it all. If the film had been a TV show with 20 episodes to unfold it's plot and back story then it actually could have worked really well. It's camp, family drama and feel vividly remind one of classic 90s science fiction. Instead it's crammed into a mess of a movie that makes characters jump from emotional stagnation to stupid decisions in the blink of an eye. It also doesn't help that the Wachowski's seem to want to make the film appeal to every popular trend that exists. Tatum is basically a werewolf, the Abrasax's are both vampires and elves, there's an entire fallen angel bit that gets almost completely ignored, space police come in for a bit of cop show stuff and Tatum flies around on weird hover shoes without a shirt for as much of the film as possible. Let's not forget the trope of a young woman thrust into wealth, adventure and power. It's like a teenage girl's check list of what she wants in a movie actually got vomited up onto the screen -- "Dear Diary, Channing Tatum is soooo cute. I wish he'd play a werewolf and fight vampires and wear eyeliner and no shirt." Visually, which is where you'll probably find most defenses for this movie, the film is both impressive and messy. Much like the over-stuffed plot and back story the costumes, design and look of the film is everywhere. Everything does look really cool, but it's often at the sacrifice of the story and logic of the universe. Stunning visuals are great in science fiction when they help to hold the world that is created together, but when they're just there to look pretty and actually create plot holes within themselves then they start to get really annoying. There's no cohesive whole to the worlds we see. Instead it just feels like a bunch of kids sitting down and just creating whatever they thought would look cool. It is a very pretty mess.  It is in fact so messy that the movie may push itself into camp. We'll leave that as a "time will tell" statement as it's hard to judge where it's going to land, but if Redmayne's ridiculous performance has anything to say about it then it's going to land firmly on the camp side of things. It isn't clear who Redmayne is trying to channel here, but his whispy voice and bat shit crazy performance is either the worst thing we'll see all year or the most brilliant bit of fun. Again, on the small screen, stretched out over a season of television, it would be an absolute blast to watch this character slowly unfold, but in this rushed mess it's just ridiculous. Kunis and Tatum by contrast seem like pieces of wood that the Wachowski's drew faces on and held up in front of a green screen. The truly interesting characters are the siblings, but the film doesn't let us play with them enough since it's so caught up in it's redemption story arcs.  You'd think that despite all of this that the action in the movie would be good, but that might be the most disappointing part of the film. The Wachowskis have shown that they can do fights and they can do speed, but neither of these things show up well here. There's only two major action sequences outside of the conclusion and they're both cutting room messes. One makes absolutely no sense at all and the other could be really cool if they'd manage to pull it off, but they don't. Instead we get far too many scenes of Tatum and Kunis pretending to be in love or Kunis coping with becoming royalty in the universe. It's all incredibly forced and means we get less action, which although mediocre would be far more welcome. Jupiter Ascending should have been a TV show. With a full season to actually put together their thoughts, unfold the characters and deliver on their fifty million different story lines the Wachowski's may have created something fun if not great. Instead we get a true mess on the screen. Overblown in every possible way the movie's only remaining value is that it can be entertaining just to watch it fall apart. There's camp hiding somewhere in here simply because it's very clear that the filmmakers are taking their ridiculousness very seriously. The Wachowski's think they created something amazing and fully commit to it. Sadly, they've only made a joke. At least we can get a laugh out of it.
Jupiter Review photo
A descending pun would not even come close to being harsh enough
I am a Wachowski defender. I have enjoyed if not down right liked every film they've made. Yes, even the second two Matrix films. If you insult Speed Racer I'll flip some tables. That movie was a kinetic and frantic mast...

Jupiter Trailer 3 photo
Jupiter Trailer 3

Latest Jupiter Ascending trailer has the plot details

Sep 29
// Nick Valdez
Jupiter Ascending may be the most unique science fantasy coming our way. Too bad the trailers don't really paint it in a good light. As the latest film from the Wachowskis, we should expect all kinds of craziness. The visual...


Jupiter Ascending gets bumped to February 2015

More like Jupiter Descending. No one else used this pun, right?
Jun 04
// Matthew Razak
This has got to hurt the ol' Wachowski siblings egos. Their big budget, science fiction film crammed full of stars like Channing Tatume and Mila Kunis has been abruptly moved from opening this July to February 2015. That's qu...
Jupiter Trailer 2 photo
Jupiter Trailer 2

Second trailer for the Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending

Mar 27
// Nick Valdez
The first trailer for the Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending left a weird impression on me. It looked good, sounded good, but ultimately seemed hollow. It just felt like something was missing within all of the glitz and glamour o...
Jupiter Ascending Trailer photo
Jupiter Ascending Trailer

International trailer for Jupiter Ascending

Mar 03
// Nick Valdez
The first trailer for the Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending came and went with little fanfare, but it at least showed off some promise. Can you believe this year we'll get a Summer blockbuster that isn't spawned off an existing ...
Jupiter Ascending Trailer photo
Gorgeous mediocrity
We've had very little to go on for Andy and Lana Wachowski's follow up to Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending, for the last few months now as everyone involved has been pretty tight lipped about the situation. But now that we hav...


Photos give first look of Wachowski's Jupiter Ascending

May 13
// Matthew Razak
The Wachowski Siblings’ newest film Jupiter Ascending is under way as the two shoot a chase scene at London's Natural History Museum that involves a skate ramp that jumps over a giant dinosaur. That's probably...

Cloud Atlas gets heavily cut by Chinese censors

Jan 23
// Logan Otremba
Apparently Cloud Atlas was not the easiest film to understand depending on who you talk to. Some people in the general masses thought the same thing when Inception came out, talking about a convoluted plot and whatnot. Good n...

Review: Cloud Atlas

Oct 26 // Matthew Razak
Cloud AtlasDirectors: Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Tom TykwerRated: RRelease Date: October 27, 2012 [embed]213392:39034[/embed] On the surface Cloud Atlas is six different stories that take place in the past present and future. They are at first glance connected only by the characters in each learning through some means (movie, journal, book, myth) about the characters in the past. The six stories in the book are presented in chronological order with the first half of each story told first and then in reverse chronological order for the last half story (1-2-3-4-5-6-5-4-3-2-1). The movie eschews this set up as it would never work and instead interweaves the six stories into one giant study on life, love and the human condition. The six stories are big enough in scope to each be a film on their own, but that would negate the beauty of how they work together and have left us without the sheer awe of how incredibly well the Wachowskis and Tykwer have weaved them all together.  Plot wise the stories are as varied as can be: A period pieces aboard a ship in the 1800s about Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess) returning home aboard a ship; a pre-WWII British drama involving an eccentric composer and his new muse; a hard nosed 70s detective story with a minority hero in the form of Luisa Rey (Halle Berry); a modern day comedy about a group of elderly escaping from their old folks home; a ystopian science fiction action story in Neo Seoul; a post-apocalyptic love tale replete with a new language. As you can tell there's a lot of genres going on here that one usually doesn't see colliding into another in stark contrast. The film's ability to gorgeously combine a Downtown Abbey-style drama with a futuristic action sequence is unprecedented and thoroughly stunning. Somehow the film makers manage to cut from a sailing ship in the 1800s to an old man racing a Range Rover out of a retirement home in the blink of an eye, but still have it make sense, and even more importantly have the stories actually join together to create a larger meaning for the entire film. This is obviously a massively ambitious project that demands that the film keeps six almost completely different stories flowing seamlessly together while interconnecting them through the film's themes. While the movie drastically plays up the reincarnation idea that is really only hinted at in the book by having each actor play other parts in the other stories it does this because it has too. A film this big must be in your face about some things, but sadly at times it can get a bit too heavy handed and that's when things can fall apart. For the most part the Wachowskis direction weaves multiple stories and genres into an incredible film that flows amazingly easily from one story to the next. College students will be introduced to montage using this film instead of Battleship Potemkin in the future it's that impressive. It often miraculously stitches scenes together in order to create an idea out of disconnected stories. It's just that sometimes the ideas get too big for the film and the story loses its way. Unfortunately when you're telling six separate stories at once (though really no more than three or four are told at a time) losing the audience means you have to work six times as hard to get them back. As a side note relating to my introduction, in situations where things start getting off track having read the book is incredibly helpful. Also helpful is going into the film ready to pay attention. This isn't a movie where you're going to sit down and tune out. If the thoughts, ideas, themes and philosophical meanderings of the film don't make you think then the sheer artistic structure of it will. Head into the theater ready to focus and you'll come out a much happier viewer. Of course there will be stories you like more than others. The action packed science fiction story featuring cloned humans and a hover bike in Neo Seoul is enthralling Patrick Ewings tale of being swindled at sea is a bit duller -- though it does have one of Hank's better roles. The trick that the film pulls off is making the dull parts connect with the overall themes wonderfully. Every story builds upon the themes of overcoming oppression, the human spirit and just how interconnected the universe truly is. When the film works best you can see the intricacies behind it and a seventh complete story, much bigger than the individual ones and far more thought provoking, reveals itself. The actors, aided often by heavy make up, are a mixed bag though never terrible. Tom "I'll Get Another Oscar Nod For This" Hanks is easily the best out of everyone and delivers performances from hilarious (a British gangster) to poignant (a future native dealing with some seriously devilish visions). Halle Berry on the other hand I could take or leave and the casting of Hugo Weaving in nothing but villainous roles make is a bit predictable except when he shows up in drag as a wicked Nurse a la One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Jim Broadbent on the other hand is wonderful in all his roles and easily gets to have the most fun while playing Timothy Cavendish in the film's most comedic story. It is impressive as well that despite sitting through the movie trying to pick out who is who when the credits rolled at the end and they showed everyone's roles I was amazed by some of the make up jobs in the film.  The screenplay is a bit less impressive. While the film weaves in and out of stories like a graceful sparrow the screenplay often relies a bit too heavily on passages from the book. While the plots are overall the same as the book's they do vary strongly except for when it comes to key dialog. The dialog is often lifted directly from the book, and sometimes things that work wonderfully in print just weren't made to be read out loud by an actor. Passages I found insightful while reading them came across as cheesy on screen and elicited a few eye roles. It's odd that the film makers were smart enough to realize that they needed to structure the film to focus on what film does well, but still relied so heavily on the words from the book. A bit of rewriting here and there could have saved some of the passages, and since they'd already reworked a ton of the stories it shouldn't have been that big a deal. With that said the film deals with simply massive questions and ideas, and sometimes addressing things like that is sounds cheesy and there's no way around it.  Cloud Atlas is a movie you have to see, kind of like Citizen Kane, for what it does as a film. Much like some people don't like Kane as a story you may not connect as dramatically as I did with this film, but you must see it because of what it does as a film. It is one of the most beautifully shot, brilliantly edited, sumptuously directed, ambitious films you will ever see. For the most part that ambition pays off in spades, but sometimes it reaches too far and you can see it unravel. Thankfully it never unravels enough to not enjoy the show and invalidate the prolific accomplishments of the film. 
A prolific triumph mired only by its own scope
I tore through Cloud Atlas this past week in preparation for seeing the film, and I want to dedicate this entire introduction to motivating people to read the book before seeing the movie. Cloud Atlas is big and com...


New Cloud Atlas videos try to explain what it is

Oct 22
// Nick Valdez
These two new behind the scenes videos for Cloud Atlas reveal how demanding the story will be for each of the actors. Each one has to play several different characters in erratic environments (so much so, that several of the...

Trailer: Cloud Atlas

Sep 06
// Alex Katz
Here's the first trailer for Cloud Atlas that's actually going to be running in theaters, as opposed to the previous one that was a bajillion years long. It's basically just a condensed version of the previous trailer, ...

Ben Affleck told 24 Hours Vancouver that he will NOT be directing the Justice League movie. You may recall a previous report that Affleck was under consideration for the film. He said the following in the interview: "I'm not...


New Cloud Atlas images and first reactions

Aug 14
// Thor Latham
Here we have a few new stills from the Wachowski's/Tim Tykwer's upcoming sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas. There's not much to say about them other than they seem to each be from one of the several stories the film will be telling sim...

Images of the various Cloud Atlas characters

Aug 03
// Hubert Vigilla
David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas doesn't easily lend itself to a screen adaptation, but based on the almost six-minute trailer for the film, it looks like The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer are giving it their all. Six interconnected/...

Trailer: Cloud Atlas

Jul 26 // Alex Katz

Note: this is technically a leaked version of the trailer, which isn't "officially" available until 10AM Pacific, so we're going to host this now and keep it up for as long as possible, then we'll put up the official version...


First Cloud Atlas photos show Halle Berry and Tom Hanks

Jul 25
// Xander Markham
Cloud Atlas is shaping up to be one of the most ambitious and mysterious movies of the year: it's an interconnected story spanning several eras of human history, with the same actors playing different characters in each one. ...

Cloud Atlas comes out stateside on October 26th

Jun 20
// Hubert Vigilla
For a while it appeared that the ambitious adaptation of Cloud Atlas from Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis was going to come out December 6th. There's been a bit of change since last month, however. Warner Bros. has officially a...

Possible plot details for Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending

May 31
// Jason Savior
With Cloud Atlas, their first writer-director outing since 2008's abysmal Speed Racer, in the can and set for an end-of-the-year release, new details have supposedly emerged regarding the Wachowskis' next project: Jupiter Asc...

Cloud Atlas by Wachowskis/Tykwer out December 6th

May 18
// Hubert Vigilla
Cloud Atlas is probably the riskiest and most ambitious literary adaptation of the year. Warner Bros. picked up the Wachowskis/Tom Tykwer film at Cannes and have it slated for a December 6th release date. The movie runs 2 hou...

Wachowskis plan Kunis and Tatum for Jupiter Ascending

Mar 27
// Xander Markham
With their expansive and mysterious adaptation of David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas set for release later this year, the Wachowskis are getting ready for the next project, said to be an original sci-fi piece entitled Jupiter...

Natalie Portman eyed by Wachowkis; planning vegan doc

Jan 05
// Hubert Vigilla
Natalie Portman has taken time off acting since giving birth to her son Aleph last June. This year could mark her return, however. There's Alan Taylor's Thor 2 on the horizon, but there's another possibility as well. While th...

Pics and concept art for Wachowskis/Tykwer Cloud Atlas

Dec 28
// Hubert Vigilla
Thanks to the people at Collider, we've got a new image and some concept art for the film version of Cloud Atlas. The novel by David Mitchell is being adapted to the big screen by The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, and it could b...

Cloud Atlas obtains Hugh Grant

Sep 13
// Jamie R Stone
The film adaptation of Cloud Atlas, which is set to start filming this week, has just received another acting talent, Hugh Grant. Hugh is just one in a long list of well-known actors joining this film, including Tom Hanks, Ha...

Rob Cohen set to direct Korea's biggest budget film ever

Jul 29
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
I think I have made it pretty clear that I am a big fan of Korean cinema. Unfortunately, I now have to add a stipulation there: I like Korean cinema directed by Koreans. Why? Because Rob Cohen, director of such masterpie...

Trailer: Retreat

May 06
// Alex Katz
Now this sounds interesting. Retreat tells the story of a couple (Cillian Murphy and Thanadie Newton) that go to a small cabin on an isolated island for a vacation, and possibly to heal their struggling marriage. As these th...

Wachowskis and Warner Brothers' next project is Hood

Dec 08
// Tom Fronczak
Looks like Russel Crowe might have something else to Tweet about today. The unnamed project that the Wachowski Brothers -- err, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski, formerly Larry Wachowski -- have been working on is Hood. It ...

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