Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Neo-Seoul – a view from above, from “Cloud Atlas”

Do you ever go to write something – a post or a comment – and realize you’re being verbose? And then do you delete it, certain no one would want to read your one-page novel?

Or does that only happen to me? I wonder, sometimes.

I’ve just finished watching the movie “Cloud Atlas.” It seems the author of the book on which the movie was based – David Mitchell – perhaps suffers from the same conundrum: how to get some ideas across without boring his audience to death.

Some ideas are like that. They take time to explain. It’s not that you want to spoon-feed your readers; you want to be clear about what you mean and just as importantly, what you don’t. And you want to convey nuance and intent, not just the action.

Cloud Atlas is a series of stories about a handful of souls, as they live different lives, in different eras, from ancient times to a far distant future. Each of those souls go through incarnations in which their personalities vary from evil to sublime. And each of the stories are unique and thrilling.

The screenwriters – the Wachowski sisters, and Tom Tykwer – have done an amazing work, piecing the stories together in a provocative way. Though it’s a long film (2 hours and 52 minutes), you really don’t get a sense of time passing. Like it or not, you become invested.

Tom Hanks plays a truly base and selfish man in one story, a distrustful but faithful protector in another, and grows to become a grandfather on a distant planet, telling his joyful grandchildren stories of the earth.

This movie also features Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Bae Doona (oh dear lord did she do an amazing job as a disposable fabricant named Somni-451 – born in a tank rather than a womb – who becomes a central figure in a rebellion), Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, and Hugo Weaving.

All of the actors must have had a blast playing such wildly different characters.

The thing that struck me throughout, was the weaving of these souls throughout history, as they often displayed their tendencies from their earlier incarnations. The central theme appears to be the truth that Somni-451 broadcasts to the world “Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past, and present. And by each crime, and every kindness, we birth our future.”

I watched this movie eleven years ago when it first came out. There was so much dialogue in it that I forgot most of it (apart from one very startling Tom Hanks scene when he was playing a dull-witted angry and brutish book author at a fancy party where he encountered his harshest critic), and so this time I watched it with the subtitles turned on.

I find I agree with Somni-451. Perhaps we’ll talk more about that later.

If I had to rate this movie out of 5, I’d give it at least a 6.

Have you ever been in a place where you hear every noise, and every one of them bothers you to the point of rage?

No? Just me then? Well okay.

I’m sure many (most) people get irritated by the noise of someone chewing something crunchy with their mouth open. Or the widely acknowledged favourite: the sound of someone drawing their nails down a chalkboard.

I remember a time when I was working at my cubicle at the office. The guy in a nearby cubicle was eating something crunchy. It was housed in a ceramic bowl, and he was using a metal spoon to scoop it up, after which he deposited it into his gaping maw, whereupon he chewed it with his mouth wide open.

This was no gentle scooping; there was an element of frantic panic about it. He clanged that spoon against the sides of the bowl like it owed him money. No way was he going to allow a single Cheerio to escape.

I heard another person talking animatedly on his phone. There was heat to his discussion, a passion that could not be ignored (try as I might). Every time I tried to look at my monitor, he erupted with another valiant point and my thoughts were cockroaches scurrying away.

Yet someone else stood up at his cubicle and laughed about something over the baffle wall with his neighbour.

When I heard that metal spoon begin to scrape the ceramic bowl in its final hunt for the least tiny crumb of errant cereal, my anger reached its zenith. I stood up and looked around….and then noticed these noises were affecting only me. Everyone else could filter all of this out, but I couldn’t.

I wanted to throw my keyboard across the room. Instead, I stood there in helpless and impotent rage, wondering what the heck was wrong with me.


The other day I saw the movie “Age of Adeline”.


I picked the film because of its interesting premise: it’s about a woman who, for some strange reason, stops aging at the age of 29. As the decades flow by, she finds she has to hide herself, move and change her name frequently so that she doesn’t come under scrutiny.

As movies go I have no idea whether it’s great or awful. I mean, I have an opinion about it, but freely acknowledge that it’s skewed by something that may seem inconsequential to others.

Namely, Blake Lively.

I’m not a fan of hers. I’ve seen in her in other films, but was not impressed or depressed by her presence in them.

The thing that stood out in “Adeline” was Blake’s voice. It is the most sweetest, calm and soothing voice I’ve ever heard.

I sat there in the dark, just blissing out on her melodious phrases, couched in the poetic rhythms of speech from elder eras.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so amazed by vocal sounds as much as hers, before the movie or since.

This affected me so much that I plan to see the movie again. It’s like a spa for the ears.