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See These Dark Comedies Soaring in Theaters Now!

Generally we have come to learn that studio releases that hit theaters in the first few months of the year are usually not their best offers. They use the first trimester as dumping ground for projects that were never meant to become hits, but with which they hope to make a quick buck. Clichéd horror flicks, bad romantic comedies, and dismally mediocre animated features that could never compete with summer blockbusters. Yet, for all the terrible films slated by industry giants there is an equal abundance of great independent and international productions that manage to get a space in the crowded marketplace.

This year, the films that stood out among these numerous, smaller options have been mostly dark comedies, which push the boundaries in all sorts of unique directions for the audience repulsion and delight. Although the films below have already opened, it’s never too late to let you know about them in case they slipped through the cracks. Believe me, any of them will leave you thinking, “What did I just watch?” in the best possible way.


Opened March 6th

Directed by Joel Potrykus

Brace yourself for one of the strangest, most infuriating, hilarious, and boldest cinematic experiences of the year. Absolute slacker Marty Jackitansky (He will remind you the last name is not Polish!) survives by playing the system in any way possible. Cashing other people’s checks, returning stolen goods from his job for cash, or complaining to the big corporations in order to get coupons. His petty scheme soon catches up with him, but with every successful deceit he exposes the dangerous complacency we all accept. Marty’s other hobbies include manufacturing a glove that resembles Freddy Krueger’s claws and hanging out with his friend Derek (played by Potrykus himself) in the “party zone,” which is what the latter has baptize his basement. It’s as deranged as it sounds, and it’s great.

*Playing in select theaters now and also available on VOD

Read More: Interview with Filmmaker Joel Potrykus on "Buzzard"

"Maps to the Stars"

Opened February 27th

Directed by David Cronenberg

Hollywood is a fickle place and Cronenberg has a brilliantly maniacal way of portraying this world in his latest work. Recent Oscar-winner Julianne Moore stars as Havana Segrand, a washed up actress whose only wish is to play the same role her mother did in a remake of a movie from decades ago. Moore won the Best Actress Award at last year's Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work here. In the Canadian director’s collection of fame-hungry misfits there is also Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird) a prepubescent, spoiled actor who hasn’t even finished junior high but has already been to rehab more than once; Jerome (Robert Pattinson), a limousine driver who, of course, is also an aspiring actor and screenwriter; Dr. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack), a wellness guru and author with more internal issues than he can help heal; and Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska), Havana’s disfigured new assistant who has come to Los Angeles with ulterior motives. The acid humor, unapologetic observations, and its absurdly self-absorbed characters make of “Maps to the Stars” a spot-on parody of the worst qualities of the film industry.

*Playing in theaters now across the U.S

"The Voices"

Opened February 6th

Directed by Marjane Satrapi

Playing Jerry, the most charming serial killer you’ll ever meet, Ryan Reynolds gives the best performance of his career in Marjane Satrapi’s wonderfully insane horror comedy. The timid factory worker has a history of mental health issues that are hidden under a façade of kindness. At home, Jerry talks to his pets: Mr. Whiskers, a devilishly cheeky cat, and Bosco, his good-natured dog. What’s particular about the ordeal is that they talk back and discuss with him his murderous intentions. Adding to his already outstanding work as the lovable, if unstable young man, Reynolds also voices both of animals as well. Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver, and Gemma Arterton are among the targets of Jerry’s madness in a disturbingly comedic fashion. Stay tuned after the film for one of the most ridiculous credit sequences ever.

*Available on VOD and still playing in a few theaters across the country

Read More: Interview: Marjane Satrapi on her murderous comedy "The Voices"

"What We Do in the Shadows"

Opened February 13th

Directed by Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi

Get ready to die of laughter with this masterful mockumentary that capitalizes on the general public’s obsession with reality shows and the allure of vampirism and its promise of eternal life. Four ancient bloodsuckers share a house in Wellington, New Zealand and decide to let a crew film their day-to-day routines as vampires living in the modern world. What ensues are a series of intelligently written occurrences that transform every known convention about these creatures of the night into hysterical gags. Everything from their hunting tactics, to their feuds with the local pack of werewolves, and even their endearing relationship with a human they do not wish to devour. “Flight of the Conchords” creator Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi co-wrote, co-directed, and star in the film as Vladislav and Viago respectively. This has to be the funniest film of the year hands down.

*Playing in theaters now across the U.S

"Wild Tales" (Relatos Salvajes)

Opened February 20th

Directed by Damián Szifrón

In this Argentine deranged and inventive ode to madness we are confronted with the animal instincts that we so desperately try to hide - until we can’t. Betrayal, injustice, and even the need to avenge a loved one, drive Szifron’s characters into losing control. With pitch black comedy that is as universal as the situations it explores, his film is a hilarious and smart vehicle for sharp social commentary. Besides being a complete riot that packs in uproarious humor, the film demonstrates the director’s ability to create a cohesive film out of diverse vignettes united by the dark side of human nature. From start to finish “Wild Tales” is truly a savagely fun trip. The film premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film this yea.

*Playing in select theaters now across the U.S and expanding in upcoming weeks

Read More: Sydney Levine on "Wild Tales," Business and Pleasure

Read More: Interview: Damian Szifron on the Oscar-nominated "Wild Tales"
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Film Review: Pre-Apocalyptic Darkness Found in ‘Maps to the Stars’

Chicago – There is a moral darkness in director David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars” that is hard to shake. It is filled with circumstance and souls right at the edge of insanity, polluted by an atmosphere that doesn’t give them much of a chance. The apocalypse is now, and living in Los Angeles.

Rating: 3.5/5.0

Julianne Moore is following up her Oscar winning turn in “Still Alice” with another memorable performance, this time as an aging and insecure movie star that has never found the proper nurturing in her life. The rest of the story includes charlatans, rejects, recovering addict child stars and hallucinations – just another day in L.A. There is no exit to these situations, and each of the characters are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. The film is a fascinating insight – the original screenplay is by Bruce Wagner – of lost connections and the resulting hopelessness,
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Moore Best Actress Oscar Helps 'Alice' But Not 'Maps': Box Office

'Still Alice' and 'Maps to the Stars' box office: Julianne Moore Oscar helps only one movie (photo: Kristen Stewart and Julianne Moore in 'Still Alice') (See previous post: "'The Lazarus Effect' Box Office: Olivia Wilde Horror Movie Arrives Comatose.") The Oscars do matter. As mentioned in the previous post, Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman was up an estimated 125 percent this weekend, Feb. 27-March 1, 2015, following its four Academy Award wins – including Best Picture. Also up a hefty 24 percent – after adding 553 locations – is Sony Pictures Classics' Still Alice, which earned Julianne Moore the year's Best Actress Oscar for her performance as a woman in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. True, an Oscar win – or key nominations – may not create mammoth blockbusters like Francis Lawrence's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, Sam Taylor-Johnson's Fifty Shades of Grey, or Clint Eastwood's American Sniper. For that,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Maps To The Stars Review

David Cronenberg’s Maps To The Stars is an easy film to watch but a hard one to decipher. It’s full of eclectic surface pleasures, but when you bite into the meat, you strike bone. After viewing it three times, I remain as dumbfounded as I was after the first viewing. The issue is not that I can’t piece together Cronenberg’s riddle wrapped inside an enigma, it’s that the answers either seem too plain for the film’s grand embellishments or too subjective to any viewer’s personal interpretation. It’s like asking, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Nobody’s inside the chicken’s head, so any motive could be assigned. Otherwise, it’s easy to say that it was just to get to the other side.

Maps to the Stars has five intersecting stories: a young woman (Mia Wasikowska) with a burn mark
See full article at We Got This Covered »

Julianne Moore in Maps To The Stars Opens in St. Louis Friday at The Chase

How about that Julianne Moore? The red-headed actress followed up her Best Actress win at last year’s Cannes Film Festival with a win for the big one at The Oscars. But the two wins were for different films! Maps To The Stars was the film she won at Cannes for. We Are Movie Geeks has not seen this latest thriller from cult director David Cronenberg, but we won’t miss it when it plays in St. Louis starting Friday exclusively at The Chase Park Plaza Cinema (212 N. Kingshighway in the Central West End)

Maps To The Stars is about the Weiss family, who are making their way in Hollywood rife with money, fame, envy, and relentless hauntings. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) is a famed TV self-help therapist with an A-list celebrity clientele. Meanwhile, Cristina Weiss (Olivia Williams) has her work cut out managing the career of their disaffected child-star son,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Maps to the Stars | Review

  • ioncinema
What’s the Matter with Havana?: Cronenberg’s L.A. Story a Hot Mess of Tangled Ideas

Couched within its episodic instances of harpooning Hollywood stereotypes, there is a rather interesting tale in Maps to the Stars contending as a wobbly family saga of vacuous types tainted by their desperate attempts to maintain a certain visibility within celebrity culture. But it’s an idea lost in its own maddening attempt at actually engaging in the mythos pointedly laid out in its own subtext as pertains to provocative motifs like incest, nepotism, and (literally) ghosts from the past. The result is a maudlin brew of wacky circumstances and over-the-top flourishes that sometimes work, but, more often than not, fall flat the longer running the time wears on. While it very much feels like a Cronenbergian endeavor, its pointed critique of a particular empty headed culture ends up feeling like a series of wink-wink potshots,
See full article at ioncinema »

Maps to the Stars Movie Review

  • ShockYa
Maps to the Stars Movie Review
Maps To The Stars Focusworld Reviewed for Shockya by Harvey Karten. Data-based on Rotten Tomatoes. Grade: B Director: David Cronenberg Screenwriter: Bruce Wagner Cast: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams, Evan Bird Screened at: Universal, NYC, 1/14/15 Opens: February 27, 2014 Though the audience for annual film awards is diminishing, there is still a great deal of excitement to the shows put on by the Golden Globes, the Academy, Critics’ Choice, and others. In fact far more people watch the celebrities than attend the movies, which means that we are more interested stars, noting what they wear, perhaps gossiping about the scandals. As for scandals, you [ Read More ]

The post Maps to the Stars Movie Review appeared first on Shockya.com.
See full article at ShockYa »

Maps to the Stars Movie Review

  • ShockYa
Maps to the Stars Movie Review
Title: Maps to the Stars Director: David Cronenberg Starring: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams and Robert Pattinson The Hollywood and celebrity lifestyle is often presented as a desirable ambition for American society to strive for, as it offers fame and wealth to the most deserving and talented people who are determined to reach their goals. But the high-society lifestyle isn’t as glamorous and enticing as many people may believe-the select few who do obtain it have to contend with such issues as relentlessly struggling with the mistakes of their past, the fading opportunities once they reach a certain age and no longer fitting into the [ Read More ]

The post Maps to the Stars Movie Review appeared first on Shockya.com.
See full article at ShockYa »

Watch The Deliciously Deranged Red Band Trailer For Maps To The Stars

David Cronenberg’s oft-copied but rarely bettered visual techniques are what enabled his shift from body horror expert to twisted auteur, and his eye for the unusual is front and center in the the latest trailer for Maps To The Stars. An expose on the bizarre inner workings of Hollywood, it’s garnered a wealth of strong advance reviews since it debuted at last year’s Tiff. With this, its Sixth trailer in the space of a year, is there really anything else new we need to see in order to be convinced of its madness?

This latest preview completely harnesses the tedious idea of a blow-by-blow story breakdown. Instead, some staccato editing and pushy soundtrack choices elevate this into a jarring glimpse at the crazy underbelly of the industry.

For those who don’t know, the movie stars Mia Wasikowska as a young ingenue who arrives in Hollywood eager to make it in Tinseltown.
See full article at We Got This Covered »

Robert Pattinson’s ‘Maps to the Stars’ Far Racier Than Expected (watch!)

Robert Pattinson may not have known what he was getting himself into when he signed on for David Cronenberg’s film “Maps to the Stars” but judging by a new “red band” trailer, it may be his raciest film ever. The film has been slapped with a R-rating for “strong disturbing content,” which includes violence and graphic sex. The trailer provides snapshots of the movie’s stars, which include Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon and Evan Bird. Carrie Fisher also makes a cameo appearance playing herself. ...Read More
See full article at TheImproper.com »

‘Maps to the Stars’ Review

Stars: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, Kiara Glasco, Dawn Greenhalgh, Jonathan Watton, Jennifer Gibson, Gord Rand, Justin Kelly, Niamh Wilson, Clara Pasieka | Written by Bruce Wagner | Directed by David Cronenberg

Maps to the Stars is a film which explores the effect of our celebrity-obsessed society. Following a variety of famous characters who are trying to hide their secrets from the lime light, worlds come crashing down around them as Agatha Weiss comes to town. Recently freed from a psychiatric hospital she has arrived to search for her family who abandoned her a long time ago.

Well. Yes. I am not really sure how to start with Maps to the Stars. So let’s start with the obvious. Julianne Moore is crazy. In this film I mean, I couldn’t describe her sanity in real life because I don’t know her.
See full article at Blogomatic3000 »

'Maps to the Stars' Red Band Trailer with Robert Pattinson

  • MovieWeb
'Maps to the Stars' Red Band Trailer with Robert Pattinson
Following the first domestic trailer that debuted last month, Focus World has released the new red band trailer for Maps to the Stars, which features adult language and sexually-suggestive situations. Fresh off her Oscar nomination for Still Alice, Julianne Moore leads an all-star ensemble cast in director David Cronenberg's Hollywood drama, alongside Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.

Meet the Weiss family, who are making their way in Hollywood rife with money, fame, envy, and relentless hauntings. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) is a famed TV self-help therapist with an A-list celebrity clientele. Meanwhile, Cristina Weiss (Olivia Williams) has her work cut out managing the career of their disaffected child-star son, Benjie (Evan Bird), a fresh graduate of rehab at age 13.

Yet unbeknownst to them, another member of the Weiss family has arrived in town - mysteriously scarred and tormented Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), just released from a psych ward and ready to start again.
See full article at MovieWeb »

New Robert Pattinson Maps To The Stars Featurette Movie Clip Released

  • OnTheFlix
Recently, Focus World dropped this new featurette/movie clip (below) for their upcoming "Maps To The Stars" drama/thriller flick, and offers up a couple of new clips from the movie, along with some interview action with director, David Cronenberg in a limousine. One of the clips gives a new glimpse at Twilight Saga main man, Robert Pattinson, doing his limo driving thing with Julianne Moore's character, and more. Check it out,below. The movie stars: John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, Julianne Moore, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, Mia Wasikowska and Evan Bird. The official plotline for the movie, reads like this: "Meet the Weiss family, who are making their way in Hollywood rife with money, fame, envy, and relentless hauntings. Stafford Weiss is a famed TV self-help therapist with an A-list celebrity clientele. Meanwhile, Cristina Weiss has her work cut out managing the career of their disaffected child-star son, Benjie,
See full article at OnTheFlix »

The 10 Indie Films You Must See This February

  • Indiewire
The 10 Indie Films You Must See This February
#1. "Maps to the Stars" (Feb 27)(Film Page) Director: David Cronenberg Cast: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Evan Bird, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams Distributor: Focus World Criticwire Average: B Why is it a "Must See"? Cronenberg's followup to 2012's "Cosmopolis" (and the first project by the Canadian director shot in the United States) does a far better job of skewing capitalism's discontents by exploring their manifestations in the American movie business. Every missive hits its target hard with a comedy-horror combo aimed squarely at the kind of commercial stupidity that Cronenberg has avoided throughout his 45-year career. Now we know why.  #2. "Wild Tales" (Feb 20) (Film Page) Director: Damian Szifron Cast: Ricardo Darin, Oscar Martinez, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Erica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylberberg, Dario Grandinetti Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics Criticwire Average: A- Why is it a "Must See"?...
See full article at Indiewire »

Interview: John Cusack talks ‘Maps to the Stars’

He’s been a Hollywood star since his teens, when he starred in Class, Sixteen Candles and The Sure Thing, but thankfully John Cusack was never like the characters in David Cronenberg’s Maps To The Stars. A brutal satire about the players, wannabes and has-beens of Hollywood, Cusack plays Stafford Weiss, a self-help guru who peddles his therapies to the weak-minded. Father to the foul Benjie (Evan Bird), a rehab-hopping teen star of the ‘Bad Babysitter’ franchise, Stafford is just one of the soulless ghouls that haunts the Hollywood Hills in what is the Canadian Cronenberg’s first real foray into Tinseltown terrain.

For Cusack, it represents yet another impressive notch in a career that’s seen him work with Stephen Frears (The Grifters, High Fidelity), Woody Allen (Shadows and Fog, Bullets Over Broadway), Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), Terence Malick (The Thin Red Line) and Clint Eastwood (Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil
See full article at Blogomatic3000 »

Exclusive: Julianne Moore Behind-The-Scenes In ‘Maps To The Stars’ – On DVD & Blu-ray February 2nd

Like many of us, I’m a huge fan of Julianne Moore’s work and the dark mind of David Cronenberg so today we merge the two, in a sense, and give you a little exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at Julianne Moore in Maps To The Stars, out to own on February 2nd on Blu-ray and DVD.

Maps To The Stars follows a secret-filled Hollywood family on the verge of implosion. The Weiss family is the archetypal Hollywood dynasty; father Stafford (John Cusack) who has made a fortune with his self-help manuals and mother Cristina (Olivia Williams) mostly looks after the career of their child star son Benjie (Evan Bird). One of Stafford’s clients, Havana (Moore), is an actress who dreams of shooting a remake of the movie that made her mother, Clarice, a star in the 60s. Clarice is dead now and visions of her come to haunt Havana at night.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Robert Pattinson, Julianne Moore, Xavier Dolan and more earn Canadian Screen Awards nominations

  • Cineplex
The Canadian Screen Awards – our answer to the Golden Globes – revealed their nominations for the best in film and television in a press conference in Toronto this morning.

It’s the third annual awards which united the former Genie and Gemini awards into one main event which recognizes film, television, and digital content in French and English languages.

As was expected, Xavier Dolan’s Mommy was the talk of the nominations earning a whopping 13 nods across the film category. Following closely behind Mommy is David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars which earned acting nods for a good portion of its cast including Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Evan Bird, Robert Pattinson, andMia Wasikowska.

Check out this sizzle reel featuring some of the nominees in the film and television categories:
See full article at Cineplex »

Xavier Dolan's 'Mommy' leads Canadian Academy nominations

  • Hitfix
Xavier Dolan's 'Mommy' leads Canadian Academy nominations
Xavier Dolan may have been miffed that his "Mommy" was left off the list of finalists for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, but he's surely pleased today that his film led the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television's film slate. It picked up 13 nominations total. David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars" was also strong. Check out the full list of nominees below. Winners will be revealed on March 1. And catch the rest at The Circuit! Best Motion Picture "Cast No Shadow" "Fall" "In Her Place" "Maps to the Stars" "Mommy" "Tu dors Nicole" Achievement in Direction Atom Egoyan, "Captive" Albert Shin, "In Her Place" David Cronenberg, "Maps to the Stars" Xavier Dolan, "Mommy" Stéphane Lafleur, "Tu dors Nicole" Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Ryan Reynolds, "The Captive" Bruce Greenwood, "Elephant Song" Michael Murphy, "Fall" Evan Bird, "Maps to the Stars" Antoine Olivier-Pilon, "Mommy" Performance by an
See full article at Hitfix »

The New Flesh(es): Top Five David Cronenberg Films

  • SoundOnSight
1. Dead Ringers

Two Jeremy Irons doing anything would be scary: his turn in 1988’s Dead Ringers as good gynaecologist, bad gynaecologist is truly terrifying. Irons plays identical twin doctors Beverly and Eliot Mantle with dizzying ease and effect: you give up looking for the special effects, because you forget there are any. Genevieve Bujold’s Claire gets far more than she bargained for: sinister is heaped upon tragic when she goes to their clinic because of her infertility and is drawn darkly downhill into the brothers’ world of women-sharing, paranoid delusions, assault against patients and an abundance of prescription drugs. Beverly and Eliot’s souls are so close that they have grown interdependent and tangled, like the branches of trees planted too close together. Body horror is given a stark slant when Beverly attacks a patient with a specially-made medical tool, and the spectre of partly hidden female genitalia hangs
See full article at SoundOnSight »

More "Maps To The Stars"

  • SneakPeek
Sneak Peek a new trailer revealing more footage from director David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars", starring Mia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Olivia Williams, Robert Pattinson, Sarah Gadon and Evan Bird:

"...'Stafford Weiss' (Cusack) is a famed TV self-help therapist with an A-list celebrity clientele. 'Cristina Weiss' (Olivia Williams) has her work cut out for her managing the career of their disaffected child-star son, 'Benjie' (Bird), a fresh graduate of rehab at age 13.

"Unknown to them, another member of the Weiss family has arrived in town – mysteriously scarred and tormented 'Agatha' (Wasikowska), just released from a psych ward and ready to start again.

"She soon works her way into a friendship with a limo driver (Pattinson) and becomes personal assistant to unraveling actress 'Havana Segrand' (Moore), who is beset by the ghost of her legendary mother, 'Clarice' (Gadon). But Agatha is on a quest for redemption – and
See full article at SneakPeek »
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