Tom Tykwer

Perfume

Tom Tykwer‘s Perfume: the Story of a Murderer was released in theaters in 2006, but it’s seeing another day for a very particular reason: the rebirth of Odorama. Well, not quite. The film is getting a limited re-release accompanied by a “scent track,” with customized perfumes created to heighten the filmgoing experience by corresponding with certain scenes. In a film about a deranged killer who has a superhuman sense of smell and an obsession with getting sniffs, it’s an apt feature to introduce. Basically, it’s ritzy Odorama, the scratch-and-sniff technology brought to theatres by John Waters in 1981 with Polyester. Instead of dog poop and sweaty sneakers, the scents are Thierry Mugler fragrances, a far cry from Odorama’s wacky, intentionally gross-out roots. Back in the early 2000s, perfumer Christophe Laudamiel heard that a film adaptation of his favorite novel was in the works and got busy with his vision: crafting scents to match the pivotal scenes of the story. Some are pleasant sounding, like Baby, Sea, and Baldini’s Boutique, but others are harsher — like Paris 1738, which mixes together notes of “sewage, rotting food and horse sweat.” Yummy. Laudamiel then took the products to Constantin films and Mugler, who both loved the idea, but the fragrances were only available to moviegoers in limited theaters in the lobby. With the re-release of the film, the scents will be given to audience members on card-stock strips so that they can sniff away during the intended moments.

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Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell’s book Cloud Atlas was long considered one of those infamous “unfilmable” books. However, that didn’t stop the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer from giving it a go when they made the epic sci-fi/historical/mystery drama. Tying together six different stories in six different genres, the film was seen as a triumph by some and a mess by others. Running close to three hours, and starring a cast of actors in multiple (and sometimes marginally offensive) roles, Cloud Atlas can be a bit of a challenge to get through, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be given a chance. You might need some liquid courage to make it to the end, that is the true-true, and that is fine. Just don’t be surprised if you start seeing double (or triple or quadruple). That’s just interesting casting and lots of prosthetics.

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The Best Damn Oscar Blog

If you can find a review of Cloud Atlas that doesn’t use the word “ambition,” I will give you a quarter. Everyone is talking about the sheer grandiosity of the project, an adaptation of a book that has been called “unfilmable.” More than simply the most obvious talking point, the movie’s vast scope is also a major point of division between critics. Those that love it seem to praise its ambition most of all, while its detractors claim that the Wachowski Starship and Tom Tykwer bit off far more than they could chew. I would argue for the latter, that while there are many excellent individual moments spread across Cloud Atlas’s six stories, the larger endeavor often gets bogged down in its own scope. However, that might mean nothing at all for its Oscar chances. Cloud Atlas is a great example of a group we might call “lesser epics.” These films tell broad, temporally extensive narratives that take up many years, distant locales, and well over two hours of screen time. They are often period pieces with meticulous detailing, gorgeous landscapes, and the occasional stunning special effects. Yet for whatever reason they don’t come quite come together in the end and they rarely make much money. At the end of the day, however, their ambition is often deemed enough on its own to garner a smattering of Oscar nominations. Cloud Atlas is nothing if not ambitious, but is that enough to impress the Academy?

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Cloud Atlas Review

Editor’s note: Cloud Atlas finally arrives in theaters today, so please dive deep into it with this review, first published as part of our Fantastic Fest coverage on October 3, 2012. It starts with an old, scarred, and obviously hard-lived man sitting near a campfire speaking to the audience, and it ends with the same scarred old man concluding his story at that same campfire talking to a group of children about past adventures. As the credits start to roll, it evokes a nostalgia that you may have just sat through the kind of immersive and imaginative tale that you wish you could recall all the details to tell it to your children exactly as it was told to you. All that was missing was a stick and a bag of marshmallows. In between these comforting bookends is a story that transcends time, tonal cohesiveness, or convention of almost any kind. Cloud Atlas an elaborate, beautiful, and ever-growing spiderweb of human causality and inter-connectivity that’s woven together by themes that support an idea that we are never unbound from one another or a purpose. Your life is not necessarily your own as you are tied to others in your time, others who came before you, and those who will come long after. What you do is what will define you and will determine the living conditions of those who follow. What you do may seem insignificant, or irrelevant to the plan at large, but most everything matters – and if […]

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The most interesting thing about this excellent behind-the-scenes look is that it’s focal point is David Mitchell, the author of the novel that The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer fell in love with so deeply that they had to make an insanely risky movie version. He becomes the entry point into a process that, typically, can seem alien to novelists. His glee at watching his story burst off the page is contagious here. Cloud Atlas is in theaters today, and the consensus seems to be that whether you feel the full force of its impact or end up hating it, the film itself is to be celebrated for trying some large and new. Adam certainly loved it, and now TIME has made “Bringing Cloud Atlas to Life: The Actors, The Filmmakers and David Mitchell Discuss the Film,” a fantastic companion to the movie which takes us from green screens to sandy beaches and beyond while Mitchell and the directors unpack the process (which apparently was a lot like playing with LEGOs). At the very least, you won’t be able to get Tom Hanks saying, “This is a violation!” out of your head all day.

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Film, like any art at its core, can be like philosophy in its pursuit of things not easily quantified. With Cloud Atlas it’s easy to say that Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer came together to make a film which spans time periods and geographical locations (some as far away as the edge of the galaxy) to show that as tiny as each of our lives are, they are still interconnected threads that shape things to come. Cloud Atlas is the definition of epic. In the beginning, we see Timothy Cavendish (Jim Broadbent) at a typewriter, narrating his work saying, “I know that you’re tired of flashbacks and flash forwards. However,…” in a playfully pleasant way of apologizing for its misgivings. Then, the sprawling, era and personality-jumping film opens up to grow into something massive and wonderful. Don’t worry about the flashbacks, Mr. Cavendish.

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All evening I was prepared for the snarkily apathetic responses to a certain film holding its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival Saturday night. Sadly, there was no Tweet expressing, “Cloud Atlas … shrug.” But there were indeed some claims of “meh” and “okay,” though perhaps not as many as there were declaring the ambitious effort either a monumental masterpiece or an epic failure. The film, which is based on the David Mitchell novel and adapted and directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, seems to be this year’s Inception or Tree of Life, as it parts the waves of criticism more distinctly than even the current American political divide. And, hey, Cloud Atlas actually sounds rather relevant to the presidential election with its apparent themes of history repeating itself and debate over change. The funny thing about a movie like Cloud Atlas is that the negative reviews seem to be more marketable than the positive. Those who say it’s a narrative mess still tell us to see the film for ourselves, if only because it’s still a marvel of cinema. And critics with the highest praise cut their own exaltations down by stating that a lot of moviegoers are going to hate it, whether because they won’t have the patience or they just won’t get it.

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Cloud Atlas

If you’ve seen this particular opening to Portlandia, it’s almost impossible not to think of it as the video featuring Tom Tykwer and The Wachowskis discussing how and why they made Cloud Atlas soon devolves into a contest of finishing each others’ sentences. Of course, that’s with good reason considering the film (based on the novel by David Mitchell) explores the mutability of identity through time and location. (One more sign that Chris Marker and Bertolt Brecht live on.) The video, put out by Warners, is incredibly encouraging because it involves the filmmakers expressing 1) a desire to make a movie like the ones that first inspired them and 2) their difficulty in finding a studio home for this admittedly atypical film. Even with shifting tides, Warners seems like an incredibly safe haven for creative types looking for some freedom. From the looks of the recent trailer (and from how giddy the three are here), it seems like that’s absolutely the case with Cloud Atlas. Damn the naysayers. It’s good to see directors open about their passion and free to turn it into something epic. Check out the video for yourself:

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The novels of David Mitchell are densely layered affairs concerned with a complicated multitude of characters facing big and complex issues. Or so I hear. His novel Cloud Atlas is a favorite of many, but even those who would love to see a film version have been adamant that such an endeavor would be a foolish and fruitless undertaking. That opinion didn’t change when Tom Tykwer and Andy & Lana Wachowski announced they had written a screenplay and were looking for funding and distribution. It wavered slightly when the casting announcements started rolling in, but it otherwise stayed steadfast. But now the first official trailer has dropped, and while the possibility of a disaster remains it looks like these three writer/directors have accomplished something amazing. Will it live up to the novel? Who knows, but there’s no doubting anymore that they’ve accomplished something audacious and wonderful here. Check out the extended trailer below (courtesy of Cinema Blend).

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With the Wachowski siblings in the midst of filming segments of the massive Cloud Atlas adaptation, it looks as if Andy and Lana are ready to jump back into the Hollywood machine in a big way. Warner Bros. is reportedly setting up a new project for the pair (unfortunately, not their long-discussed hard-R Iraq War homosexual romance drama) that will see them back on a familiar ground. The new film is called Jupiter Ascending, and while little is known about the project, we do know that it is an original sci-fi idea from the pair, and that the studio is already ringing the “franchise” bell. They are looking for a spring production start, which means that the buzz now revolves around finding an A-list star to lead the project. The Wachowskis’ previous original sci-fi franchise, The Matrix, was not only a huge financial and popular success (making a staggering $1.6b worldwide), but the first film is also one of the best-rated and reviewed sci-fi films of the past couple of decades. We won’t talk about Reloaded and Revolutions here (not a fan). But what the franchise proved was that the Wachowskis are adept at conceiving of and executing a large-scale sci-fi concept that can appeal to both critics and moviegoers. If Jupiter Ascending is of the same mold, everyone is in for a treat. Now, if we could just get a logline on the project (I’m already picturing an epic battle between the actual planet of Jupiter and everyone else […]

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The Wachowskis made news when they signed one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, Tom Hanks, for their next feature Cloud Atlas. Hanks is kind of a brand name in the moviemaking business, and has been for quite a number of years now; so he’s not really known for taking chances. The Wachowskis, on the other hand, are pretty much known exclusively for taking chances. Everything they have done so far has been weird, experimental, and up in its own head. The other name involved in the development of this project, Tom Tykwer, is pretty off the wall as well. He’s the guy who made Run Lola Run. And the source material for this new film, a David Mitchell novel also named “Cloud Atlas,” is no exception. It tells six different stories, each taking place in different times and places, but involving characters who are recognized as being the same people, or reincarnations of each other, or something. Basically what I’m driving at is that everyone signing on to this film will have to take on multiple roles, so if the Wachowskis want to pull this off, they’re going to have to get some great actors. Thankfully, so far they have. In addition to having Hanks in the lead role, Cloud Atlas continues to add an impressive list of accomplished actors in supporting positions. Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, and Ben Whishaw had already been announced for key roles, and now when presenting the film to potential buyers and […]

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“Cloud Atlas” is a novel written by David Mitchell that sounds pretty complex and pretty cool. Kind of like The Fountain squared. The New Yorker describes the book by saying, “Mitchell’s virtuosic novel presents six narratives that evoke an array of genres, from Melvillean high-seas drama to California noir and dystopian fantasy. There is a naïve clerk on a nineteenth-century Polynesian voyage; an aspiring composer who insinuates himself into the home of a syphilitic genius; a journalist investigating a nuclear plant; a publisher with a dangerous best seller on his hands; and a cloned human being created for slave labor. These five stories are bisected and arranged around a sixth, the oral history of a post-apocalyptic island, which forms the heart of the novel.” Apparently each of the stories is read by a character from another, and some of them may be reincarnations of each other, and it all sounds complex and heady and exactly like the sort of thing that would catch the eyes of the Wachowski brothers siblings. And it has, because a while back they bought the adaptation rights and they’ve been developing the film alongside Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer. Actors like James McAvoy and Halle Berry have been rumored to be involved with the project at various points, but now comes the first time that an actor has become officially attached. And that actor is Tom Hanks. Seeing as the movie sounds like it is going to be super complex and involve tons of […]

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This week’s Culture Warrior is getting its bunker ready for Y2K.

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international-interview

Edward Douglas had a chance to sit down with Tom Tykwer, director of The International while he was in New York to talk about the movie for this exclusive interview found only on Film School Rejects.

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international-header2

The folks over at MSN have posted the first 5 minutes of the upcoming film The International, starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. The film, which was directed by Tom Tykwer (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer), follows the story of an Interpol agent (Owen) who attempts to expose a high-profile financial institution’s role in an international arms dealing ring.

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tykwer-eggers

Film School Rejects just had a chance to sit down with the German filmmaker for an interview, and we learned that Cloud Atlas isn’t the only project that Tykwer is currently developing, and it might not even be the next movie he directs.

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Clive Owen in The International

Clive Owen and Naomi Watts take on a corrupt world bank through a journey that will undoubtedly include mystery, intrigue and violence.

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published: 04.18.2014
A
published: 04.18.2014
B+
published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.17.2014
D+

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