The Weiss family is the archetypical Hollywood dynasty: father Stafford is an analyst and coach, who has made a fortune with his self-help manuals; mother Cristina mostly looks after the career of their son Benjie, 13, a child star.
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Jeezus, are people so inured to violence that this somehow is not considered a horror film? If I had had any indication beforehand, I never would have exposed my eyes to this shit. Spoiler/Warning in the comments box below if you want the details and don't like horror films...
"I'm not a big fan of closure." Arguably one of director David Cronenberg's finest films, this nasty piece of fan mail sent in Hollywood's direction might be called "Sunset Boulevard" for the Twitter generation. Except "Maps to the Stars" isn't a Hollywood satire so much as it is a warped tragedy about a group of characters who just so happen to inhabit the (surreal) landscape of the contemporary film industry.
Certainly an interesting film, to say the least. Narcissism and self-involvement in Hollywood is certainly nothing new, but Cronenberg strives to push into new, depraved territory. Somewhere close to Ellis, but not quite. The performances were clunky, awkward, and sometimes just plain bad - but perhaps, at least in part, this was intentional. In any case, stars deducted for that horrible CGI fire.
Begins like Theorem by way of The Player; a strange visitor infiltrating a network of Hollywood caricatures with the intention of destroying them from within. Blunt tinsel town satire (à la The Canyons) soon mutates into a hysterical Mommie Dearest-style psychodrama full of ghosts, vulgarity, ugliness and ultra-violence. I'm not sure how succinctly the entire thing is supposed to connect, but it's powerful, in parts.
Delightfully wicked little romp through the darkest side of Hollyweird. The ending left a bit to be desired but the performances were all fun and the pace was nice and quick. Julianne Moore celebrating Micah's death was the pinnacle of it all.
Perhaps the darkest film of 2015, Maps to the Stars is a disturbing tour de force from the master filmmaker of psychological analysis. Cronenberg explores - with great dexterity and architectural precision - the extraordinary pain of repression, fueled by the satirizing nature of a freak show, one that, much like Hollywood itself, strives to exorcise its demons in utter magnanimous fashion.
A kind of digest of those tics that Cronenberg decided to develop since "Crash", that overrated emphasized moment. With one of the worst scripts that one can imagine, with the most unbearable cast, the filmmaker again erases its formal identity to become a social critic, with the same effect as any social chronicler of those magazines that put the brain into lethargy. Pathetic, of so much wanting to mean.
I've gotten bored with the cliches about what a shallow, self-centered place Hollywood is, but the good news is that those cliches aren't what Cronenberg cares about; it's more about how success can unlock a human dark side that's there anyway. He gives the narrative a distant, analytical, schizoid feel, making you sense links that may or may not exist. And when Julianne Moore has license to go insane, magic happens.