REVIEW: Maps to the Stars

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Maps to the Stars
Directed by: David Cronenberg
Written by: Bruce Wagner
Starring: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack and Evan Bird

Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg’s latest nightmare, is an emotionally violent, incestuous drama staged in the Hollywood Hills.  Like Paul Schrader’s recent The Canyons, this film’s Los Angeles has a radioactive glow; its bleached-out skies make it impossible to see where the sun is during the day, and neon colors pop during the few night scenes.  Its characters are an equally disturbed group of frigid psychopaths and tortured narcissists.  Some are both.

For how often the movie is dominated by daylight, many of the characters look (and behave) like vampires trapped in the sun, or ants being fried by a magnifying glass.  One of them, Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), even has visible burn marks on her neck and the left side of her face.  Her brother, troubled teen star Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird), is the only noticeably tan one, and he’s also the most well-adjusted to the movie’s world of tormented excess.

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10 Movies I Changed My Mind About

I hated Pulp Fiction the first time I saw it.  The first Tarantino movie I’d ever seen was Kill Bill: Vol. 1, which is a decidedly gorier and altogether more accessible movie for an eighth grader (technically I wasn’t legally “mature enough” for either by the MPAA’s standards), although I was the only one in my grade who seemed to enjoy it.  When I watched Pulp Fiction for a second (and a third and a fourth ad infinitum) viewing, it gripped me like few other movies had before or since.  To this day it is still one of my all-time favorites.

Movies, especially great ones, often change from viewing to viewing, not because they are different but because we are.  Though we now live in an age of Rotten Tomato blurbs and aggregated consensus, a critic’s most valued possession is still their written voice.  With every review now posted quickly and then archived online, conversation on most movies usually peaks quickly when they are first released, and then dissipates just as fast.  The only time afforded to looking back is the annual “Best of the Year” cluster fuck.

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CANNES REVIEW: Cosmopolis

Cosmopolis
Directed by: David Cronenberg
Written by: David Cronenberg (screenplay), Don DeLillo (novel)
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Gadon and Paul Giamatti

All this modern billionaire ever wanted was a haircut, though in Cosmopolis it becomes quite clear that he pretty much has everything else a person could desire.  David Cronenberg brings his typical visual menace to this deeply intellectual examination of the one percent, staging what amounts to little more than a series of conversations as increasingly intense verbal battles.

When Eric (Robert Pattinson) untints the windows of his hyper-modern limousine, we see an outside world that is coming closer and closer to collapse.  He of course is numb to everything but his own concerns, a simple haircut used to exaggerate how miniscule they are in relation to everything else.  As he talks (and talks and talks) to his girlfriend, his prostitute, his financial adviser and a myriad of others, it becomes clear that there is a pent-up frustration that is slowly being unraveled as the economy and his fortune near demise.

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TRAILER: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Directed by: David Slade
Written by: Melissa Rosenberg (screenplay) Stephen Meyer (novel)
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

The third installment is finally here. Not like the wait was long from lasts November’s New Moon, but non-Twihards are anxious for this franchise to get wrapped up so we don’t have to hear about it from the news, tabloids, and endless marketing campaigns by the studios who are doing a great job on cranking out these half rate movies while the blood is fresh in the franchise. A summer release will be interesting for Summit, to see whether it can pick up movie goers, or if fans will abandon it with so many other better options out there.

Despite the eager fans the franchise has, the franchise shows up with a little less enthusiasm. The trailer looks much of the same old Twilight we’ve already seen in the first two films. People fight over Bella. Bella has to pick a man. Men go around tearing each other up over a bony pale virgin Arizona. Not much else happens. Ever. Continue reading