MAPS TO THE STARS Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 24 days ago

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I don’t like to admit it, but every now and then, I do enjoy picking up a tabloid.  Simply put, it’s fun to read about nonsense like what everyone’s wearing and see that celebrities are really “just like us.”  And the same goes for covering industry news as well.  I truly enjoy finding out what everyone’s up to, whether I’m a fan or not, and that’s a big part of the reason David Cronenberg’s latest works so well.  Maps to the Stars is a Hollywood satire that takes you behind the scenes and dishes out joke after joke at the industry’s expense, but screenwriter Bruce Wagner also slips in an offbeat and riveting mystery that makes the experience more than a fleeting laugh, but rather a dark, absurd and disturbing experience that’ll stick with you well after it ends.

MAPS TO THE STARS Trailer Featuring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson

by     Posted 40 days ago

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When you’ve got a film featuring a Cannes Film Festival Best Actress awarding winning performance from Julianne Moore, you better put it to good use and this new trailer for David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars does just that.  The first 25 seconds of the piece is just Moore whining on the phone, but her work is so amusing and commanding that it instantly sparks a desire for more.

And best of all, we’re going to get to see more Moore (sorry, I had to) because earlier this month, Focus Features’ alternative distribution initiative, Focus World, snatched up the U.S. distribution rights to the film and plans to release it in early 2015.  Hit the jump to check out that new Maps to the Stars trailer.  The film also star Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Evan Bird, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.

David Cronenberg’s MAPS TO THE STARS Acquired by Focus World for Early 2015 Release

by     Posted 50 days ago

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Filmmaker David Cronenberg’s latest effort will find its way to U.S. screens early next year.  Ahead of the film’s North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, Focus World announced today that it has acquired U.S. distribution for Maps to the Stars with plans to release the film stateside in early 2015.  The film follows an archetypical Hollywood dynasty including a writer of self-help manuals (John Cusack), his wife (Olivia Williams) who manages the career of their 13-year-old son, and their daughter (Mia Wasikowska), who was recently released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania.  The plot also includes Havana (Julianne Moore), an actress who wants to remake a movie that starred her now-deceased mother.  The pic premiered earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, and while the overall reaction was mixed, Moore drew high praise for her performance and won the Best Actress award.

Many had pegged Moore as a contender in this year’s Oscar race, but if Focus World doesn’t stage a limited release in December to qualify for contention, that takes her out of the running.  That said, Focus World’s specific release strategy is unknown at the moment.  Read the full press release after the jump.

SCANNERS Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 68 days ago

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David Cronenberg made six movies before Scanners, and it felt like all of them were a precursor to a great coming out.  Critics were shocked with what he put onscreen.  Nobody knew what to make of it.  They only knew that they were seeing something strange and disturbing, something that resembled nothing else in movie history.  They were disgusted by the groundbreaking visual effects, and disturbed by the paranoid fantasy lying beneath them.  But the film became a big hit and with it, the career of one of cinema’s most distinctive auteurs had well and truly begun.  The new Criterion Blu-ray edition is everything any fan could possibly hope for.  Hit the jump for my full Scanners Criterion Collection Blu-ray review.

New MAPS TO THE STARS Trailer: Director David Cronenberg Highlights the Madness and Paranoia of Hollywood

by     Posted 71 days ago

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Entertainment One UK has released a new Maps to the Stars trailer online.  David Cronenberg‘s latest film follows an archetypical Hollywood dynasty including a writer of self-help manuals, his wife who manages the career of their 13-year-old son, and their daughter, who was recently released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania.  The plot also includes Havana, an actress who wants to remake a movie that starred her now-deceased mother.  I’m still not 100% sure what to expect from Cronenberg’s new picture, but that’s one of the reasons it’s one of my must-see films at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Hit the jump to check out the new Maps to the Stars trailer.  The film stars John Cusack, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams, and Sarah GadonMaps to the Stars opens in the U.K. and Ireland on September 26th.  There is currently no U.S. release date.

First Trailer for David Cronenberg’s MAPS TO THE STARS Starring Mia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore, and Robert Pattinson

by     Posted 190 days ago

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The first Maps to the Stars trailer has been released.  The film follows an archetypical Hollywood dynasty including a writer of self-help manuals, his wife who manages the career of their 13-year-old son, and their daughter, who was recently released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania.  The plot also includes Havana, an actress who wants to remake a movie that starred her now-deceased mother.  I’m not quite sure what to make of the footage in this promo trailer, and that’s part of what makes me so excited for this movie.  The other part is that this is a new David Cronenberg movie, and I’m eager to see anything he does.

Hit the jump to watch the Maps to the Stars trailer.  The film stars John Cusack, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams, and Sarah Gadon

Margot Robbie to Star Opposite Will Smith in FOCUS; David Cronenberg Casts Emilia McCarthy, Jayne Heitmeyer, and Justin Kelly in MAPS TO THE STARS

by     Posted 1 year, 98 days ago

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A bit more casting to pass on before the night ends:

  • Margot Robbie is nearly set to sign on for the female lead in Focus opposite Will Smith.  They plan con artists in Glenn Ficarra and John Requa‘s follow-up to Crazy, Stupid, Love.
  • David Cronenberg cast Emilia McCarthyJayne Heitmeyer, and Justin Kelly in his next feature, Maps to the Stars.  Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert PattinsonJohn Cusack, Olivia Williams and Sarah Gadon also star.

HIt the jump for more on both projects.

NAKED LUNCH Criterion Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 127 days ago

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To quote Nelson Muntz, “I can think of two things wrong with that title.”

The notion of an unfilmable novel is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. You can film anything. You might film it badly, but you can film it. David Cronenberg proved that in 1991 when he adapted William S. Burrough’s novel Naked Lunch for the big screen. Good or bad doesn’t quite enter into it – to dive into Burroughs is to experience madness in its purest form – but if anything could defy adaptation, that book would be it. And if any director could find a way to crack its code, it would be Cronenberg.  Hit the jump for my review of Naked Lunch on Blu-ray.

Julianne Moore and John Cusack Join David Cronenberg’s MAPS TO THE STARS

by     Posted 1 year, 186 days ago

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The cast is finally coming together for director David Cronenberg’s next film.  Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis star Robert Pattinson has long been attached to appear in Maps to the Stars, and now THR reports that Julianne Moore, John Cusack, and Sarah Gadon (A Dangerous Method) are set to round out the cast.  Written by Bruce Wagner (Wild Palms), the film is described as a ghost story that “offers a critique of celebrity-obsessed society in Los Angeles,” the latter of which is quite a popular topic in film culture at the moment with Sofia Coppola’s similarly-themed film The Bling Ring set to hit theaters this summer.

There’s no word on the characters that the aforementioned actors will play, but production is set to begin in July in Toronto and Los Angeles with Entertainment One Films onboard to finance and distribute the indie.  Cronenberg previously stated that he was hoping to nab Viggo Mortensen to star in Maps to the Stars as well, but one assumes Cusack ended up taking that role instead.

David Cronenberg to Co-Star in Luca Guadagnino’s Adaptation of Don DeLillo’s BODY ART

by     Posted 1 year, 265 days ago

Director David Cronenberg occasionally steps out in front of the camera, and he has 26 acting credits including roles in Jason X and The Stupids.  According to Yahoo! Movies, he’ll be working with slightly more elevated material by joining the adaptation of Don DeLillo‘s Body Art.  Directed by Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love), Isabelle Huppert stars as “an actress/performer of sorts grieving over a lost lover who encounters a mysterious stranger living in her house (all of which may or may not be literally happening).”  The film also stars Denis Lavant, who wowed audiences with his excellent performance(s) in Holy Motors.

This is the second pairing of Cronenberg and DeLillo.  Cronenberg’s most recent film was an adaptation of DeLillo’s 2003 novel, Cosmopolis.  It looks like Cronenberg’s next directing project will be Maps to the Stars, especially since Eastern Promises 2 and a remake of The Fly are now kaput.

David Cronenberg Offers Details on Now-Defunct EASTERN PROMISES Sequel and THE FLY Remake

by     Posted 1 year, 310 days ago

There’s no denying that director David Cronenberg is a wholly original filmmaker, but his signature style doesn’t always translate to box office success.  As such, it came as quite a pleasant surprise recently when the director was interested in making both a sequel to his 2007 crime drama Eastern Promises and a remake of his seminal 1986 sci-fi classic The Fly.  Just as both projects seemed to be on track, Cronenberg abruptly broke the news that neither was going to happen because the respective studios decided they weren’t interested in making the films.  Though Eastern Promises 2 and Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly may never come to fruition, the filmmaker recently provided a few details regarding what we would have seen if the projects had made it to production.  Hit the jump for more.

Adam Berg to Direct VIDEODROME Remake Written by Ehren Kruger; Misses Point of David Cronenberg’s VIDEODROME

by     Posted 2 years, 59 days ago

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I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I can easily be wrong about a project, especially when it’s in its nascent stages.  So much changes over the course of production, and sometimes a logline can’t do a premise justice.  But I can’t wrap my mind around anyone remaking Videodrome.  And yet, today Deadline reports that Adam Berg, who has directed popular commercials, is on board to helm a remake of David Cronenberg‘s classic film.  Ehren Kruger, who’s been attached to the project since 2009 and is the screenwriter behind such masterpieces as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Reindeer Games, scripted the remake.

For those unfamiliar with the original film, it’s about a TV executive looking for the sleaziest possible content for his channel, Civic TV, and comes across the disturbing show “Videodrome”, which causes him to have disturbing hallucinations.  According to Deadline, Berg and Kruger plan to “modernize the concept, infusing it with the possibilities of nano-technology and blow it up into a large-scale sci-fi action thriller.”  Hit the jump for my reaction.

TOP 5: THE EXPENDABLES 2, PARANORMAN, THE LAST STAND, David Cronenberg Doesn’t Like Superhero Movies, BULLET TO THE HEAD

by     Posted 2 years, 63 days ago

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This weekend’s release of ParaNorman will afford me the rare opportunity to share an afternoon in the theater with two of my nephews, ages 8 and 10. Granted, they’re a little disappointed that we’re not checking it out in 3D, but I just can’t bring myself to foster any sort of affinity for the technology in their young and impressionable minds. The last movie we watched in theaters together was 2009′s Up and it was an experience that I’ll never forget as its brilliant opening sequence brought tears to both of their eyes at the ripe ages of 5 and 7. It was a glowing example of the cinema’s ability to touch young and old alike and while ParaNorman will likely be unable to touch that moment, I’m looking forward to it a ton nonetheless.

My weekend plans aside, in a three-fifths ode to our action heroes of yesteryear, this week’s Top 5 includes video interviews with the cast of The Expendables 2, video interviews with the cast and directors of ParaNorman, the first poster and trailer for Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s The Last Stand, David Cronenberg vs. the superhero genre, and the first trailer for Sly Stallone and director Walter Hill‘s revenge tale, Bullet to the Head. As always, a brief recap and link to each greets you after the jump.

COSMOPOLIS Review

by     Posted 2 years, 65 days ago

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A frequent theme in the oeuvre of writer-director David Cronenberg is how we become alienated through the ubiquitous.  We fail to notice how everyday facets of our lives are changing us on a fundamental level, and causing us to be alienated from ourselves and each other physically, mentally, and emotionally.  In Videodrome, Crash, and eXistenZ, Cronenberg explored how technology warped our relationship to the world to the point where technology became organic and the organic became mechanical.  In his last movie, A Dangerous Method, Cronenberg explored how psychotherapy causes people to become distanced from their emotions and psyches.  In his latest film, Cosmopolis, Cronenberg turns his eye to capitalism, and has created a darkly comic, coldly calculating look at a world where everything is for sale and nothing has value.  Like A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis suffers from the lack of an emotional impact, which is the inevitable result of a story where characters have become disconnected from emotion, but the story will still leave your head spinning.

David Cronenberg’s Got No Love for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and Other Superhero Movies

by     Posted 2 years, 66 days ago

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I wouldn’t say David Cronenberg‘s one of my all-time favorite directors, but he’s close.  He makes fascinating, disturbing movies that shock audiences not for shock value, but to force them to consider complicated ideas.  While I think his movies are worth seeking out (look for my review of his latest film, Cosmopolis, tomorrow), his recent comments probably won’t endear himself to some superhero movie fans.  Speaking to NextMovie, Cronenberg says he doesn’t agree with the perception that directors like Christopher Nolan are elevating the genre.

Hit the jump for the full quote from Cronenberg and my reaction.  Cosmopolis opens in limited release on Friday.

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