Mia Wasikowska

Map to the Stars

TIFF 2014: ‘Maps to the Stars’ is a huge disappointment

There’s something theatrical about this new version of Cronenberg. Not in the way we think of Stratford or Shaw. More like pseudo-artistic interpretive theatre that happens during one’s experimental phase in University. Maps to the Stars is a colossal disappointment, offering stilted performances, a disjointed and predominantly ineffectual script, and bewilderingly bad sound design. What appears on the surface to be an interesting dialogue on child stars, the vapid, all-consuming and destructive nature of celebrity, and the superficial nature of Los Angeles very quickly reveals itself to be something else altogether – the tired, lazy half-measures of an auteur riding on his own coattails.

‘Tracks’ is all about the journey, not the destination

Adapting such a real life story into a piece of cinema brings with it a series of extraordinary challenges. For starters, the walk itself lasted a mind-boggling 9 months. How does one communicate the length of a near 3,000-kilometer long walk to modern audiences with boring them to death? Short of pulling off a Béla Tarr Satantango-esque epic, judicious decisions need be taken in order to pack the essentials into a reasonable running length whilst conveying the harrowing experience in gripping manner.

Maps to the Stars - Mia Wasikowska

Cannes 2014: ‘Maps to the Stars’ the darkest comedy of Hollywood aspiration

Los Angeles, the city that homes the superstars and studios responsible for mainstream cinema culture, has consistently received its due criticism from those who either reject it or work within it. Look no further than Thom Andersen’s nearly comprehensive Los Angeles Plays Itself to see the town utilized as an easy space for shooting, a battleground for the melodrama of the privileged, and home field for telling stories about the storytellers. The business-driven artistic culture that pervades the town has been satirized in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Player, and Barton Fink to the point that a simple update of finger-pointing to the 21st century may be seen as a rehashing. Bruce Wagner’s crazy script for David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars instead paints the town as a machine capable of rehashing through its own ghostly presence of the-machine-that-once-was: a cycle so foreboding that it must be spoken of through horror tropes.

TIFF 2013: ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ an empty promise

How many times have you heard the coming of a new take on vampires in cinema? And how many times have you heard that call sounded with the participation of Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and John Hurt, with direction from Jim Jarmusch?

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