Well, this hasn't happened for a while - we got to see a movie on its opening weekend. Saturday night, we went to "Cloud Atlas."
This is a very interesting movie, with a big-name cast: Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon, just for starters. Going in, I had no real idea what this movie was about, and now I know why - it's not the kind of movie you can boil down to a brief plot synopsis.
The first 15 minutes are confusing as heck, jumping around in time quickly and randomly from the mid-1800s to a post-apocalyptic far future. (Just to add to the confusion, the far future characters speak a pidgin English that's almost impossible to comprehend, at least at first.) But gradually, as each time frame's plot starts to develop, you begin to see the connections between the storylines. The sudden changes are still jarring, but if you're paying attention you can keep up.
It's also incredibly interesting to see the actors playing different characters in each storyline, sometimes in such heavy makeup they completely disappear into the character. (Stick around through the credits, they run photos of all the characters played by each actor next to the actors' names. Even if you're looking for it, I guarantee you'll miss some of them.)
This is the most original science fiction movie I've seen in some time. It doesn't exist just to show off flashy special effects - the visual effects are stellar, but definitely secondary to the story. It has something to say about how everyone's lives are connected, and how actions and relationships can echo throughout space and time. It's philosophical, arty, complex, and at almost three hours, incredibly long - but it's definitely worth the time and money to see in the theater.