"An epic adult film that's about epic adult ideas," is how Susan Sarandon described Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski siblings independently financed epic "Cloud Atlas" to Indiewire late last month. Judging by the stunning six-minute trailer that's been making the rounds on the web, that sounds about right. Based on David Mitchell's landmark novel of the same name, "Cloud Atlas" spans the nineteenth century to a post-apocalyptic future for a tale that shows how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. As evidenced in the preview, the film's large cast (that includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving), all don prosthetics to play a myriad of people of different ethnicities and genders. Even if it turns out to be "Southland Tales"-style mess, we're betting "Cloud Atlas" will be unlike anything you've ever seen before.
"End of Watch"
Navy veteran and "End of Watch" director David Ayer comes with street cred; he did extensive research into the LAPD before writing the script for Antoine Fuqua's 2001 film "Training Day," starring Denzel Washington in an Oscar-winning performance. The director ("Harsh Times," "Street Kings") told Comic-Con that the script for "End of Watch" was written "like a fever" in six days. He put stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena through months of rigorous training before they began shooting the cop drama, set in South Central Los Angeles. Shot entirely with handheld cameras and found-footage, and from the looks of the trailer, "End of Watch" will immerse audiences into this popular genre like no other film has.
Michael Winterbottom is one of the most prolific directors in the industry, indie or otherwise. As noted in the film’s official synopsis, this tale of a mother struggling to raise four kids while their father is incarcerated was captured over a five-year process, shooting for weeks at a time. Seeing the gradual effects that the filming schedule will have on the cast is magnified by the fact that five different cinematographers are credited. Whether Winterbottom will be able to create a cohesive narrative or revel in the temporal differences should elevate the production style above the level of gimmickry.
French director Laurent Cantet (2008's Oscar-nominated and Palme d'Or winning "The Class") tackles Joyce Carol Oates's novel, "Foxfire," putting an upstate New York 1950s girl gang front and center in the form of a memoir. Faithful to the source material and starring a cast of unknown young women, we expect a wild ride along with the gang of fed-up young feminists who go guerrilla-style, striking back against the chauvinists of their small town.
“Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp”
Hip-hop star and actor Ice-T’s debut as a filmmaker, “Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap,” drummed up fairly positive response when it had its premiere at Sundance in January. This time, the rapper’s longtime manager Jorge Hinojosa is in the director’s chair (Ice-T is an EP) for a look at the man who birthed Street Lit as he transformed himself from pimp, addict and hustler into influential author in the 1960s. Archival footage is interspersed with new interviews with those he inspired, such as Quincy Jones, Chris Rock and Snoop Dogg. Toronto may not come off as the hippest town with the most game, but anyone can relate to the desire to turn a past full of mistakes into something meaningful.