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About once a month, Cinelinx will chose one director for an in-depth examination of the “signatures” that they leave behind in their work. This week, we’re examining the trademark style and calling signs of David Cronenberg as director.
Cronenberg first became interested in film during college, where he self-taught himself the art before establishing a co-op to produce films. His first feature length films were art-house movies, Stereo (1969) and Crimes of the Future (1970). Shivers (1975) was his breakthrough. That film received a lot of attention because although people were talking about it, they were divided in regards to its vulgarity, especially considering the fact that it was funded by the Canadian government. Still, it was the most profitable film funded by the Canadian government up to that point. His follow up was Rancid (1977) which was commercially successful. His next movie took a break from body horror to explore his love of cars and racing. »
- email@example.com (G.S. Perno)
On a winter morning that should be like any other, the residents of quiet, isolated Maiden Woods awake to find three-pronged hoof-pints traversing their town. Sheriff Paul Shields (Kevin Durand) and his new deputy, Donny Saunders (Lukas Haas), track the mysterious, unnatural markings, which disappear as if into nothing in the middle of the forest that surrounds the sleepy logging town. When the local wildlife starts to flee en masse, the residents begin loudly speculating that they’re about to witness the return of a demon that hunted in the trees three decades earlier. Shield tries to quell the rumors and maintain calm, but the closer he gets to determining what’s lurking through town, the less convinced he becomes that it’s of this plane. For years, the imposing Kevin Durand has played supporting roles in such films as “Robin Hood,” “Cosmopolis,” and “Fruitvale Station.” More recently, small screen »
- Zach Hollwedel
David Cronenberg remains the king of surreal and horrifying body horror in cinema. He may have branched into other genres such as avant-noir (Cosmopolis), gangster movies (Eastern Promises) and biopic dramas (A Dangerous Method), but his greatest work remains that which fuses his art cinema sensibilities with a dark and terrifying edge.
From his early days as a director fusing schlocky horror with complex post-human science-fiction, to his more narrative- and character-driven recent work, Cronenberg has always been a master of the creepy, claiming that he thinks of horror films “as films of confrontation” that push film in increasingly artistic directions.
Whether Cronenberg has a twisted imagination or can simply boast a sense of humour that is blacker than black, he has consistently created scripts, characters and images that are beyond the imagination of practically every other English-speaking filmmaker. It’s not just his own creations that the »
- Michael Waugh
With Hollywood looking for franchises wherever it can find them, it seems mighty odd that The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a highly successful novel with a film adaptation that had Rooney Mara, David Fincher, and James Friggin’ Bond attached, is not already swimming in sequels. The American version of Stieg Larsson’s novel wasn’t exactly a blockbuster, but it made $233 million worldwide on a $90 million budget. It seems like a no-brainer.
Now there’s talk from THR that a sequel could arrive soon enough, but Sony is debating the possibility of turning Larsson’s last two books, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, into a single film. They may even lump in a new novel starring hacker Lisbeth Salander by David Lagercrantz called The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Larsson passed away in 2004, before the books were even »
- Brian Welk
If there was one item that you did not find in a video store (not excluding Kim’s video) was a book to film translation of a Don DeLillo oeuvre, but it now looks like the celebrated author is keen on seeing some of his creations being adapted to the big screen. After Cronenberg took a limousine tour via Cosmopolis, and Benoît Jacquot recently landing The Body Artist (still in pre-production), it is Alex Ross Perry‘s turn to join the cult. In a short time lapse, Perry has been mentioned for the family turf Winnie the Pooh studio project and now, Variety reports that Perry will both write and direct The Names. He’ll co-produce alongside (La última película executive producer) Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, a producing figure who is definitely is a class of his own (among the Megan Ellisons in the biz) in terms of his support of auteur filmmakers. »
- Eric Lavallee
Perry (“Listen Up Philip,” “Queen of Earth”) is planning to adapt the script and direct. “The Names,” DeLillo’s seventh book, is set in the summer of 1979 in Athens and throughout the Middle East with a cast of expats who start to investigate a string of murders committed by a cult. DeLillo fans consider the work underrated. (The New York Times review described it as “a powerful, haunting book, formidably intelligent and agile.”)
- Ramin Setoodeh
This week, Neil Calloway looks at the recent collapse of two films, and the wider implications for Hollywood…
Imagine if you’d secured Bruce Willis, or Robert De Niro and Robert Pattinson to star in your film, sorted out financing and actually started shooting; you’d be pretty happy. You wouldn’t be guaranteed a hit – in William Goldman’s oft-repeated maxim about Hollywood “nobody knows anything”, but you’d be pretty certain that your film would get a release, and had the potential to make money.
But of course, this is Hollywood. “Nobody knows anything” is often repeated because it’s true. In November last year Idol’s Eye, starring De Niro and Pattinson, shut down production, and this week Bruce Willis, along with director John Pogue, left the film Wake after production had been “temporarily” stopped earlier in the year. Both films were to be produced by Benaroya Pictures, »
- Neil Calloway
'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, »
- Zac Gille
This potent brew of discomforting black humor and sublimely exaggerated melodrama revels in an unnervingly frigid tone that is not all that dissimilar from David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis. Maps to the Stars is stiltedly hyper-real reflection on reality that accentuates the inherent falsities of the cinematic medium. A bit heavy-handed at times, Cronenberg's film is a Freudian analysis of the perversity of Hollywood inbreeding and the self-perpetuating cycle that dehumanizes people and turns them into psychotic monsters. Just like these characters, Hollywood is self-obsessed and entranced with its glamorous history, always looking back rather than progressing into the future. A Canadian director with an unrivaled panache for creating unsettling films that are poised in sharp opposition to Hollywood, Cronenberg has certainly earned himself every right to make this judgment. »
- Don Simpson
This doesn't bode well. For the second film in a row, David Cronenberg has made a stinker. Yes, there were some bits in Cosmopolis that didn't suck, but it was hardly vintage DC. As I mentioned in my review for that other Robert Pattinson-in-a-limo movie, my biggest disappointment of late isn't that Cronenberg is trying new things (applause!), stepping outside for the last decade or so from his bread-and-butter genre flicks. But I am really not along for the ride with his latest foray into somber, clinical and dreary character pieces. I could go on and on about how Crash's captivating and nihilistic ennui has been replaced of late with a glossy and laconic moping that seems characteristic of this latest phase. As before, I...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
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, »
- Nicholas Bell
This is a reprint of our review from the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Real talk: it's been quite a while since David Cronenberg made something truly satisfying. "Cosmopolis" has a few defenders, "A Dangerous Method" not so much, and while there's stuff to like in "Spider," "A History Of Violence" and "Eastern Promises," all felt compromised to some degree or other. Indeed, the truly unfiltered Cronenberg picture, one where bits fall off people or people try to have sex with orifices not traditionally used for any sexual act, seems like something of a distant memory at this point. But good news is here, because the Canadian director's latest, "Maps To The Stars," just premiered at Cannes, and while it's substantially different from the "Videodrome"s and "Crash"es of the world, and probably rather more disposable, it's certainly the director's most twisted, and as a consequence, most deliciously »
- Oliver Lyttelton
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
Quite hilarious in a deeply disturbing way that you won’t want to look straight on at, lest it forever ruin you as a lover of movies. I’m “biast” (pro): mostly like Cronenberg’s work, love the cast
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Oh, did you have dreams of going to Hollywood, becoming a star, and living happily ever after? Maps to the Stars will put paid to them. This is one of Canadian horror auteur David Cronenberg’s (Cosmopolis, Eastern Promises) least trippy films: it’s hardly surreal at all. Which makes it all too plausible as it looks askew at the living nightmares that are the lives of the Weiss family of Los Angeles, all of whom are deeply entrenched in the industry. Except the one thing they think is horrific — and it’s pretty bad »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Even though we've seen plenty of footage from Maps to the Stars, thanks to the Canadian trailer, the United Kingdom trailer and most recent Us trailer (just to name a few), we have one more quick, wild red band trailer for the skewering of Hollywood as only director David Cronenberg can deliver. It's not all that crazy of a red band trailer, with only hints of nudity and one f-bomb dropped by Mia Wasikowska, but it's certainly frenetic and full of some weird imagery, including one curious shot of Robert Pattinson. But it's Oscar nominee Julianne Moore stealing the trailer with her crazy actress character again. Watch! Here's the final red band trailer for David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars from Yahoo: You can still watch the Us trailer for David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars right here. Maps to the Stars is directed by David Cronenberg (Scanners, »
- Ethan Anderton
Director: David Cronenberg
Running Time: 90 minutes
Cronenberg’s early film Rabid, reminds me of why and when he was at the peak of his great talent. I can’t stand his last two efforts, with both Cosmopolis and Maps To The Stars wallowing in weirdness for the sake of atmosphere, and failing to have any pay off or real sense of what they were doing. Rabid is a simpler affair, but one that explores the mutilation and mutation of one’s body that Cronenberg is well-known for.
Set in Canada, the film begins with a peculiar bike crash in which a number of people come to the scene. An injured woman (Chambers) is taken to hospital where she undergoes cosmetic surgery to correct some of her wounds. This leaves her with a strange infection that causes her to attack people, »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
Robert Pattinson’s latest outing in Werner Herzog’s “Queen of the Desert,” with Nicole Kidman and James Franco, has left critics parched at the Berlin Film Festival. Has RPatz bombed, again? Since the “Twilight” franchise made him an international star three years ago, Pattinson has focused his career on a string of indie flicks. He’s starred in a string of films such as “Cosmopolis,” “Water for Elephants,” “Bel Ami,” “The Rover,” “Maps of he Stars” and now “Queen of the Desert.” ...Read More »
#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"? »
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 »
- Juliette Jones
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
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