Heads Up: Cloud Atlas
One novel, three directors, six plots? The sky's the limit
What are we talking about? A film adaptation of the novel of the same name, consisting of six interconnected stories stretching over time and place.
Elevator pitch One novel, three directors, six plots... It's an atlas of ambition.
Prime Movers The 2004 novel was by British author (not comedian) David Mitchell; it's adapted and directed by The Matrix writers Andy and Lana Wachowski, with help from Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run).
The stars Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw and many, many more, all playing multiple roles.
The early buzz It's out in America and has provoked both adoration and frustration. The New York Times wrote: "This is by no means the best movie of the year, but it may be the most movie you can get for the price of a single ticket. It blends farce, suspense, science fiction, melodrama and quite a bit more… Together the film-makers try so hard to give you everything — the secrets of the universe and the human heart; action, laughs and romance; tragedy and mystery — that you may wind up feeling both grateful and disappointed." The New Yorker was also on the fence: "It could, and should, turn into a properly divisive film, touching off feuds between the fervid and the splenetic, but one has to ask: does it allow for immersion? Even as we applaud the dramatic machinery, are we being kept emotionally at bay?" Website Salon didn't think so: "It's an amazing, baffling, thrilling and (for many, it would appear) irritating experience, and for my money the most beautiful and distinctive big-screen vision of the year." But Rolling Stone concluded it's "an uphill battle incarnate. And nobody makes it to the top".
Insider knowledge Keep your eyes peeled – the author David Mitchell cameos in several scenes.
It's great that… Hollywood stars got on board, helping the film-makers to raise a budget of over $100m, making it one of the most expensive independent films ever made.
It's a shame that… it's two hours, 43 minutes long, rivalling recent epics such as The Hobbit and Les Mis. Groan. Has the film industry sacked its editors?
Hit potential There's serious star-wattage, a well-loved book behind it and The Matrix connection – but lukewarm reviews, a tricky plot and a long running time may deter.
The details Cloud Atlas is released on 22 February.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Engineer pictured fixing plane's engine with 'duct tape' by concerned EasyJet passenger
- 2 Two-year-old says goodbye to bin man best friend
- 3 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 4 Remove smartphones from the hands of under-18s and maybe they will grow up to be less dumb
- 5 Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
Jay Z's Tidal could be about to lose Beyonce's music in ultimate humiliation
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
Thrill of the chaste: The truth about Gandhi's sex life
Big Brother 2015 new housemates: Simon Gross returns as stripper Marc O'Neill, model Harry Amelia Martin and X Factor reject Sam Kay join
Star Wars 7: Andy Serkis character revealed as Supreme Leader Snoke
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'