9 items from 2015
All that Glitters: Barney’s Operatic, Caterwauling Art-house Epic
Those familiar with the work of Matthew Barney, namely his impressive Cremaster Cycle (2003) and Drawing Restraint 9 (2005), either appreciate his artistic ambition to collapse, discombobulate, and erase the distinction of form, or discount his credibility (an appraisal that can be attributed to most provocative artists). His filmic language generally consists of a grand mixture of anthropomorphic fascination, formal cinematic composition, musically discordant fascination with opera, and a kind of live performance art/sculpture exhibit, amongst others. Sprawling, decadent, and enigmatic, fans and critics vacillate between lobbing appellations that range from ‘pretentious,’ to ‘genius,’ and he’s been referred to as one of the most important artists of his generation.
Whatever your opinion of his work, one cannot overlook the sheer audaciousness of his latest long-gestating hybrid, River of Fundament, a seven year project that kinda, sorta, maybe is the most interesting »
- Nicholas Bell
In a world where few cinematic taboos remain, previously ‘unfilmable’ projects like J.G. Ballard’s High Rise (2015, adapted by cult director Ben Wheatley) are belatedly brought to the screen – long anticipated by Ballard’s controversial Crash (1996, believed too obscene to film for two decades but successfully transplanted by David Cronenberg) and The Atrocity Exhibtion (2000, a literary nightmare of clinical surrealism turned into a languid exploitation movie).
So what makes a literary property untouchable in an age where people can obtain almost any feature uncut on DVD? It’s not what you might think: explicit sex and extreme violence are not the no-nos they once were (though combining the two is still problematic). But the deranged viewpoint of a mad or antisocial narrator can still be regarded as dangerous territory – especially if their version of reality demands a big budget…
Ballard’s novel of urban dystopia (abandoned by »
- Paul Woods
Horror is a genre of ideas, of what ifs turned into terrifying flesh-and-blood monsters. In the 1980s, David Cronenberg emerged as a renouned horror director for his willingness to explore dark avenues of thought, rather than burying them beneath layers of screaming teenagers and half-baked plots. Despite his genre of choice, too often considered a low-minded form of entertainment, Cronenberg’s films were always somehow literate. It seems only natural that he would eventually adapt a novel, and it seems almost perfect that the novel would be William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch.
In many ways, Cronenberg and Burroughs are a perfect pairing. No matter how many times I watch Videodrome, I doubt I’ll ever understand every piece of the puzzle, and the same goes with much of Burroughs’s work, including his magnum opus novel Naked Lunch. You don’t think about Cronenberg’s and Burroughs’s art »
- Jeff Rindskopf
David Cronenberg's scabrous new nightmare "Maps to the Stars" is a pitch-black ghost story writhing in the filth of writer Bruce Wagner's Hollywood rock-bottom, a demimonde of deluded pill-swilling actresses, schizophrenic burn victims, incest families and drug-addicted child stars. In other words, home sweet home for the Canadian director of films like "Crash," "Dead Ringers," "Naked Lunch," "A History of Violence" and "Videodrome." His first film ever to be shot in the United States—at least in part—"Maps to the Stars" landed in Cronenberg's lap a decade ago when his friend Wagner gave it to him without any intention of a film being made. Finally, in 2015, it's here in all its messy, horrifying, grand guignol glory. Author of nine books between 1991 and 2014, Wagner grew up on the fringes of Hollywood, working at bookstores, as a limo driver for celebrities from Orson Welles to Larry Flynt and as an. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Directed by Howard Brookner
Howard Brookner’s extraordinary portrait of William S. Burroughs was all but lost following its original release in 1983. Now recovered and restored, it offers an intimate insight into the life and work of one of America’s most celebrated and controversial writers. Covering his time spent in New York, Tangier, London and Mexico, from “full out junkie” to literary giant, the documentary is notable for its experimental style and unprecedented access to Burroughs, as well as interviews with his Beat Generation contemporaries, including Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, Herbert Huncke and Bryon Gysin.
Burroughs: The Movie started life in 1978 as Brookner’s senior thesis at New York University and one of the film’s many quirks is that the technical credits include illustrious classmates Jim Jarmusch as sound recordist and Tom DeCillo as the principal cinematographer. After forming a close friendship with the director early on, »
- Rob Dickie
For someone so hung up on the body, David Cronenberg sure has a way with words. Amongst all those blooming wounds, moist openings and jagged cavities, it’s often the mouth that’s the most persuasive orifice of all. Whether slogans which feel like rallying cries or individual words rendered hypnotic by repetition, Cronenberg’s mantras echo so long in the mind they often encapsulate the films they inhabit: for what would Videodrome (1983) be without the new flesh, Naked Lunch (1991) without the Interzone? While many of his dialogues draw on languid repetition to create the same sense of dreamy, heightened unreality that envelops his entire oeuvre, there are certain cases where his mantras seem to work their magic on the narrative itself, itemising its key components, ushering in shifts between different levels of reality or even mimicking its very structure. And yet this approach too is in continual flux, shifting »
- James Lattimer
David Cronenberg. From “Stereo” to “The Fly” to “Crash” (no, not that one, the one from 1996), to “A Dangerous Method” and beyond, it’s hard to argue that the (sometimes) writer, (more often) director has had an eclectic career. And with his first credited short nearly fifty years ago, perhaps that isn't surprising. Vimeo user Shaun Higgins (d.b.a. Hello Wizard) has paid homage to the uniquely varied director via a new seven-minute tribute supercut. The short splices shots from 21 of Cronenberg’s films together, lending some semblance to what defines a Cronenberg picture. In chronological order, going all the way back to 1969 and up through the present, Higgins includes: “Stereo,” “Crimes of the Future,” “Shivers” (a.k.a. “They Came From Within”), “Rabid,” “Fast Company,” “The Brood,” “Scanners,” “Videodrome,” “The Dead Zone,” “The Fly,” “Dead Ringers,” “Naked Lunch,” “M Butterfly,” “Crash,” “eXistenZ,” “Spider,” “A History of Violence,” “Eastern Promises, »
- Zach Hollwedel
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960 to universal acclaim and became one of the most celebrated works in American literature. Despite winning a Pulitzer Prize and earning Lee a Congressional Medal of Freedom in 2007, it was the author's only published book.
News: 'Peter Pan' and 6 Other Beloved Disney Movies Based On Dark, Horrifying Books
On July 14, Lee's second novel Go Set a Watchman will be hitting bookstore shelves, nearly 54 years after To Kill a Mockingbird. The story, which Lee actually wrote before her debut novel but never published, serves as a sequel to Mockingbird, and follows the original book's beloved characters years after the events depicted in Lee's masterpiece.
Now that To Kill a Mockingbird has a follow-up, it's time to go back and see what other famous literary works could use a Part Two. Here are six classic novels that are begging for a sequel.
1. The Catcher »
Focus World has released the brand new U.S. theatrical trailer & poster for Maps To The Stars, directed by David Cronenberg & starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska with John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.
Cronenberg is equally known for not flinching from any subject, and for making films that are as challenging and substantial as they are suspenseful and visually compelling. Early in his career, he made a series of vivid, fantastical thrillers including Scanners, Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, eXistenZ and Spider. More recently, his filmmaking has become even more expansive with the high-style crime thrillers A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, the psychological, sex- infused historical drama about Freud and Jung, A Dangerous Method, and his adaptation of Cosmopolis which takes place almost entirely in a billionaire’s limousine on one fateful trip through the city.
For Cronenberg, Maps To The Stars was another chance to switch »
- Michelle McCue
9 items from 2015
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