Yah Davey, def on the same page with that though I have high hopes for Tarantino to knock this one out of the park.
DMM, I feel the same way about Lee Daniels and The Paperboy...I am curious about it from pedigree, cast, poster but the problem is I'm worried about his directorial style. I thought it was a big part of why Precious didn't work for me (despite great performances) and I hated Shadowboxer. Just an awful, awful movie.
Re: Cloud Atlas, I gave in and read the script tonight - all 230 pages of it (not sure which draft but I doubt it was the shooting one considering the length). To do a sum-up, it's definitely ambitious, definitely geared towards the adult drama crowd more than the summer popcorn crowd. It's not inaccessible though I'm not sure how the cross-cutting will go down with crowds. They're certainly not dumbing down dialogue for popcorn audiences, nor excising one storyline involving a gay musician in the 1930s and it's also not particularly action-heavy though there is some. Closer to Tykwer than Wachowskis but its thematic musings and philosophical bends are shared interests between all three.
In comparison to something like The Fountain, it's simultaneously more conventional (with some of the six storylines having familiar trajectories from past literature or films though it acknowledges this) and less conventional (in its crosscutting/mixing of different genres and tones, the rich variance of dialogue from story to story - lots of voiceover though, etc). It's also a movie which *might* leave some feeling a bit unsatisfied at the end and not very understanding of what the film is about - I feel much of it is up to the viewer/reader to make what they will of it, to analyze and solidify the thematic leaps, contrasts and connections between the storylines - or not. It certainly covers a lot of thematic ground in conversation and voiceover.
Potentially, it could be very, very impactful when seen visually/heard aurally. Certain sequences worked for me on paper but I can just tell when cross-cut together, the impact will be far more than I can get out of reading text on a page (assuming Tykwer and the Wachowskis nail it). I think it can and will be enjoyable on a literal level without the need to dig in (at least for the fall adult crowd). But the digging in is what will connect the stories better for people, whereas I can see some people feeling like the stories are just six disconnected stories thrown together (they're linked more thematically than literally but the links are not as obvious as other movies like Babel-communication or Crash-racism or 360-connectivity for example) - this is where I think we may see some divisive reviews.
But yeah, when you have dialogue ranging from "How providential your choice of words Doctor, for Progress is precisely the subject." to "Now, I'd got dire some hole-spew that day 'cos I'd ate a gammy dog leg in Honokaa, an' I was squattin' in a thicket when sudd'nwise I felt the devil's eyes on me." to "You must have misheard me, I said I had a melody not a malady." you know you're not watching a Hollywood tentpole.
Which makes it all the more exciting that they were given the $100 million to pull this off (and apparently the financing was actually very international - not only Germany, but several Asian companies contributed to the budget).