Martin Katz

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Maps To The Stars Review


Excellent

As it explores Hollywood's inbred underbelly, this film becomes increasingly deranged and also rather dark and creepy, but it's so fiercely entertaining that it's impossible to look away from the screen. With razor-sharp performances, a brutally witty script by Bruce Wagner and snaky direction from David Cronenberg, the film is perhaps too knowing as it explores a group of fiercely ambitious people who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Things kick off as Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) arrives in Los Angeles and is collected by chauffeur Jerome (Robert Pattinson), who is also of course an aspiring screenwriter and actor. Focussed and determined, Agatha visits the ruins of a Hollywood Hills home before using a friendship with Carrie Fisher to get a job as an assistant to acclaimed actress Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore). Facing middle age, Havana is desperate for a comeback role in a remake of the movie that made her mother a star. Meanwhile, 13-year-old teen pin-up Benjie (Evan Bird) has completed rehab and is ready to act again, encouraged by his manager mother (Olivia Williams) and self-help guru dad (John Cusack), who are unnerved when they hear that Agatha is back in town. Clearly everyone has a secret that can jeopardise their career paths. And they're connected in ways no one wants to acknowledge.

The knotted mess of the plot is carefully unpicked over the course of the film, which only makes everything that much more intense and nasty. While it's blackly funny, the movie's overall tone is extremely grim, as these wealthy stars are crippled by emptiness and desperation. They're also willing to do just about anything to get ahead, from celebrating someone else's misfortune to blatantly lying about their pasts.

Continue reading: Maps To The Stars Review

Cosmopolis Review


Good
Artful, intelligent and wilfully obtuse, Cronenberg uses his skill to hold our interest through this oddity of a film. But it's difficult to engage with such fragmented film, especially when its big themes are hidden in overwritten dialog.

Eric (Pattinson) is a 28-year-old billionaire who wants a haircut. As he climbs into his high-tech limousine, his security chief (Durand) warns about traffic problems because the US President's in Manhattan. En route, Eric continues his routine, meeting his computer expert (Baruchel), theoretician (Morton) and financial advisor (Hampshire), who talks to him during his daily prostate exam.

He also sees his new wife (Gadon) several times, has sex with two women (Binoche and McKenzie), endures an anarchists' riot, gets a pie in the face and confronts a man (Giamatti) who wants to kill him.

Continue reading: Cosmopolis Review

It's A Boy Girl Thing Review


OK
It's comforting to know that, deep into the 2000s, there is still someone trying to dig a final nugget of gold from the old swapping-bodies plot device. Freaky Friday will simply never die. Never!

In this installment, it's, well, a boy girl thing. The swappers are high school seniors: Dim jock Woody (Kevin Zegers) and Yale-destined brainiac Nell (Samaire Armstrong), who've lived next door to each other all their lives and, as this type of movie dictates, now hate each other. A class field trip and an Aztec idol get the switcheroo done (the mechanics of the switch are, of course, inconsequential), but with Woody's brain in Nell's body and vice versa, how will she dazzle the regents during her final Yale interview, and how will Woody impress the talent scouts at the Homecoming football game?

Continue reading: It's A Boy Girl Thing Review

Martin Katz

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Martin Katz Movies

Maps to the Stars Movie Review

Maps to the Stars Movie Review

As it explores Hollywood's inbred underbelly, this film becomes increasingly deranged and also rather dark...

Cosmopolis Movie Review

Cosmopolis Movie Review

Artful, intelligent and wilfully obtuse, Cronenberg uses his skill to hold our interest through this...

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