Quick Takes: Maps to the Stars, Consumed

Maps_to_the_StarsMaps to the Stars (2014)
twohalfstar

Starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams, Robert Pattinson, Kiara Glasco, Sarah Gadon
Directed by David Cronenberg

Maps to the Stars is definitely a better film than the disastrously bleak and boring Cosmopolis, but it’s still nowhere near as great or intriguing as most of Cronenberg’s other works. I must admit to generally disliking most films about Hollywood, though, so this one had more working against it than the average film, Cronenberg or otherwise. Mia Wasikowska delivers a great, subtle performance as our odd and mysterious lead, but in terms of story the “big reveal” and the conclusion aren’t as engaging as the character deserves. Julianne Moore stands out as well, but by this point in her career, that’s to be expected. Originally the film was to star Viggo Mortensen (in the John Cusack role) and Rachel Weisz in Moore’s place; with this knowledge, I would’ve instead loved to see Viggo and Julianne together, as I’m not much of a Cusack fan and I don’t see Weisz as being especially suited to this role. In any case, Maps to the Stars is a weird, disappointing movie, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. A few weeks ago, I read about Cronenberg having challenges funding his films these days, and honestly after the one-two punch of Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars, I can kind of understand why the money men are hesitant. But whatever, he’s David Cronenberg! He should be allowed to make whatever he wants, y’know?

consumedConsumed (2014)
by David Cronenberg

fourstar

After recently going through all his films, I had to read Cronenberg’s debut novel. It’s a brilliant piece of work, as good as his best films, without question. A welcome return to body horror that consistently made me uncomfortable (in a good way) and had me squirming and wincing in empathetic pain. To achieve that with a film is impressive, but to do so without a single image is something else entirely! Consumed is a testament to the power of Cronenberg’s craft as a writer and a storyteller, and it in no way feels like a debut novel. It’s the work of a seasoned, visionary artist, and anyone who loves his films should check it out. Consumed is easily my favorite Cronenberg project since eXistenZ. His last couple of films weren’t great, but make no mistake: Cronenberg has definitely still got it! If you’re intrigued by a book that brings together body horror, journalism, 3D printing and cannibalism, then Consumed is for you!

9 comments to Quick Takes: Maps to the Stars, Consumed

  • Cool a director with a book, I might read that one [except he kind of frightens me even in his interviews though]. Great choice.. I enjoyed your reviews of his movies a lot, even if I didn’t comment much!

    • Well, the book is classic Cronenberg and definitely not for the faint of heart. So you’ve been warned hahaha. Glad you liked the reviews. I never planned to do this, but I’m glad I did. I may do more things like this with other directors in the future.

      • Well I’m going to try out eXistenz again tonight since I found videodrome to be too much [don’t like the ending]. I’ve seen it before and remember having similar thoughts about the title and that. Yeah so Guillermo has those books too, I dare you to research some Roth, Eli. Haha if you Dare.

        • Not going down that Eli Roth path. I don’t think I’ve actually seen any of his movies but I’m pretty sure I’d hate them. I might give Cabin Fever a spin someday. That’s the only one that I have any shred of interest in.

          • Hate is a strong word Bro. Anyways if you were to only see one of his, I’d say go with Hostel. It’s influenced mostly by Audition, Ichi the Killer, and Miike [who is in the moving and tells them “Do not go in there”, which they ignore and then you know, the Gore. Either way he’s a special effects meastro and the only CG I can remember in his movies is the ants in Green Inferno. Maybe he talks to much or something? He’s actually mostly a dweeb if you listen to one of his 80 commentaries

            • Perhaps I shouldn’t have said hate. I don’t actually know until I watch them (which I don’t plan on). It’s mostly my aversion to modern horror, modern movies in general, and torture in both modern horror and modern movies. I’m not interested in seeing that at all. As a person, though, I feel like we’d get along and geek out over obscure movies.

              • Yeah dude, I don’t really Like modern horror either [cough TCMRemake cough]. They generally take it too far like watching Faces of Death which I also ha.. DisLike and think people who watch that garbage should be arrested. There’s only one other guy who I like lately Alexander Aja, he’s Cool too. Roth generally gets a bad rep with all the aficionados because of the stupid “Torture Porn” label which only applies to his movies if you only watch the Trailers [which are always misleading with his flicks all the way back to Cabin Fever because he’s such an eccentric.] Basically in American Terms I look at his Palette as a combo of Cronenberg, Raimi, and Lynch. NUFF SAID.

              • [correction Alexandre correction]

              • Nick Ian Decelles

                p.s. Not trying to be rude with the Nuff Said, forgot the Bub part muahahahha

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