It’s a good time to be a fan of Andy and Lana Wachowski, aka The Wachowski Siblings, aka Wachowski Starship. Their new film, Cloud Atlas, is not just a massive and impressive undertaking, but an effective achievement with a blissfully humanist conclusion. The pair are doing more interviews and actually making personal appearances to promote the movie. And it seems like they’re already moving forward with additional projects.

While we wait to hear about the fate of the possibly dead project Cobalt Neural 9, there’s new info on a TV show the Wachowskis are developing with J. Michael Straczynski. The project is called Sense8, and while the details are secret, it is something that the three creators have been working on for a while, and could see the Wachowskis directing some episodes. Read More »

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Given the sprawling scope and staggering ambition of the Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer‘s Cloud Atlas, it seems only appropriate that the movie open on some of the largest screens in the world. IMAX has announced that the epic saga will hit their super-sized screens next month, on the same day as Cloud Atlas‘ regular, non-IMAX release. It’s worth pointing out, however, that Cloud Atlas was not shot in native IMAX but is being digitally remastered for the release.

Still, whether you plan to see it on the big screen or the extra-big one, Cloud Atlas looks like one of this fall’s most intriguing offerings. To pique viewer interest, Warner Bros. has just unveiled the first TV spot for the movie. While the previously released extended and theatrical trailers underscored the movie’s more emotional themes, the new 30-second spot cuts straight to the sci-fi action goodness. Watch it after the jump.

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The themes of Cloud Atlas are legion, and the 160 minutes the film spans are epic. Six or seven plots are considered, depending how you define your storylines, and the time period ranges from 1849 to somewhere 400 years into the distant future. What I’m getting at here is the grandness of the scope, the giantess of the spectacle, the massive overarching ambition of the work. Co-writers and directors Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski have delivered a weighty film tome for our analysis, and I have a feeling this one is going to be spurring conversations for years to come.

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‘Cloud Atlas’ Theatrical Trailer

Anyone who’s really eager to see the Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer‘s Cloud Atlas has likely already pored over that six-minute trailer released over the summer, but for the rest of the moviegoing public there’s now a more traditional two-minute theatrical version. Whichever camp you fall into, the new cut is worth checking out, as there’s a bit of fresh footage to be found here.

Based on David Mitchell‘s acclaimed novel, Cloud Atlas weaves together six tangentially related stories that traverse time and space. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, and Bae Doona star, each playing a number of different characters across the different plotlines. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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One of my all-time favorite Comic-Con memories was walking the floor, glimpsing over to a small booth in the 4000s and seeing Larry and Andy Wachowski. The writers and directors of Bound and The Matrix were just sitting there. No line, no nothing. That’s what happens when you make one of the most influential and revered films of a generation but refuse to do interviews about it. You gain a certainly level of anonymity and mystique. The kind that allows you walk around unnoticed Comic-Con, which is exactly how the Wachowskis wanted it.

Since my Comic-Con encounter, where the brothers couldn’t have been nicer, Larry has become Lana and the pair have teamed up with Tom Tykwer to make Cloud Atlas, Warner Bros.’ 2012 Oscar hopeful starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and others, scheduled for release October 26. The film had a long, difficult road to the big screen and is a huge risk, both personally and professionally, for the siblings. To combat that, they’ve finally begun to shed some of their press armor and open up about not only this film, but everything else as well.

We saw a brief video introduction to the film, another clip discussing technique and now The New Yorker has published a stunning profile on Andy and Lana. In it, we learn all about how they became filmmakers, their influences, background, Lana’s gender transformation, the difficulties of financing and adapting Cloud Atlas, the success of The Matrix and even some revealing details on film they partially shot called Cobalt Neural 9. It’s a must read for all film fans. Get the link after the jump. Read More »

A couple weeks back, reports came out that Ben Affleck was one of the first people Warner Bros. wanted to talk to for the directorial gig on Justice League. It seemed like an unlikely chance, given the sort of films Affleck has made to date, especially with his experience on Daredevil taken into account. Not long afterward, a follow-up report made it sound like there wasn’t any real chance at all that Affleck would take the job. Now, just to close the door completely, the actor/director has commented speifically on Justice League, saying that he isn’t working on the movie.

That means there’s room for new rumors to spring up, however, and the latest involves the Wachowski siblings, directors of The Matrix, Speed Racer, and the upcoming Cloud Atlas. Read More »

Early Buzz: ‘Cloud Atlas’ Test Screening Reactions

The same breathtaking ambition that makes Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer‘s David Mitchell adaptation Cloud Atlas so intriguing also gives it the potential to flop, hard. Weaving together six interlocking stories that cut across time, space, and genre is difficult enough to do within the confines of a novel, to say nothing of a three-hour film. Then there’s that insane casting: stars like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, and Jim Sturgess are each playing multiple characters, in some cases switching genders or races to do so.

Thankfully, buzz from test screenings suggests that much more of it works than not. Keep in mind that quite a few things may have changed in the few months since testing began (for one thing, some of these folks saw a cut that was four hours long), and that these reactions are coming from people whose tastes we don’t know. Even so, a flood of positive reactions seems like a very promising sign. Hit the jump to read the comments.

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There are some great outtake clips online this week from Keanu Reeves‘ documentary Side by Side, which looks at the division between shooting film and digital. The outtakes go a little further afield from that topic, however, and one of the best is an interview with Andy and Lana Wachowski — and primarily with Lana — talking about how “performance” is created in the editing room.

This is a good little primer on one aspect of filmmaking that may people easily overlook, and worth watching for that reason alone. Wachowski fans will also be interested to see this as it is one of the very few video interviews with the directors. They seem to be more willing to talk to the camera lately; we’ve had two videos with them in the past month, which is more than in the previous decade. By the time their new film Cloud Atlas hits (co-written and co-directed with Tom Tykwer) they’ll be hosting their own reality show. I’d watch that. Read More »

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