7 items from 2015
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
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
Sigmund Freud would have surely had a field day with writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein, who has now devoted not one but two movies to women with metaphorical steel traps between their legs. In Lichtenstein’s 2007 debut, “Teeth,” the woman in question was a sexually curious teen suffering from an acute case of vagina dentata. In Lichtenstein’s latest, “Angelica,” the focus is on a wife and mother whose fragile health demands that she abstain from all pleasures of the flesh — a dietary restriction that leads to many strange bumps (and humps) in the night. The result is a looney psychosexual potboiler with one foot in “Masterpiece Theater” finery and the other in outre camp abandon, never fully satisfying on either count, but at least partly redeemed by a finely calibrated star turn from Jena Malone. Lacking the shock scares needed to sate the mainstream horror crowd, the film’s commercial prospects are decidedly limited. »
- Scott Foundas
Over a year ago, we got a teaser poster for Ben Wheatley's adaptation of High-Rise, the next twisted thriller after a series of masterful indies such as Kill List and Sightseers. And now the film is finally looking to hit theaters with sales happening at the European Film Market, which means we get a first look at the thriller starring Tom Hiddleston. The rest of the cast is pretty impressive too since it includes Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss, Luke Evans and Stacy Martin, though they aren't anywhere to be seen in this first photo. This is certainly one we're looking forward to whenever it may arrive. Look! Here's our first look at Ben Wheatley's High-Rise from Empire: High-Rise is directed by British filmmaker Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace, Kill List, Sightseers, A Field in England), from legendary producer Jeremy Thomas (The Last Emperor, Sexy Beast, A Dangerous Method, »
- Ethan Anderton
Northern Irish star Jamie Dornan may be melting hearts and stealing headlines ahead of his appearance as Christian Grey in next month’s Fifty Shades of Grey, but the actor also has several other projects in the works, including Alexandre Aja’s The 9th Life Of Louis Drax.
Based on Liz Jensen’s bestselling, eponymous novel from 2004, the story orbits around the titular young boy who has been marred with health issues his entire life. Now, at the age of 9, Louis Drax has slipped into a coma, forcing his neurologist, Dr. Allan Pascal (Dornan), to bring the child back from the brink. However, the twist to the tale here lies in Aaron Paul’s character, Louis’ father, who many suspect to be the cause of his son’s ailments.
As the above picture attests, some of Pascal’s techniques comes out of left field, including a technical device that allows »
- Michael Briers
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
7 items from 2015
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