David Cronenberg

10 Movies That Take Place Inside a Character’s Head

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Pixar’s latest film Inside Out opens in theaters this weekend. The 3D-animated movie is set inside the mind of a young girl named Riley, whose emotions are personified by an all-star voice cast, including Amy Poehler. “The film reinforces a white-bread and hetero-normative version of family, while also creating a wild, female-centric road-trip adventure story, a groundbreaking Thelma and Louise for kids that celebrates difference,” writes our own Sarah Seltzer. Inside Out is hardly the first film to use the mindscape as a place of dramatic action. Here are ten other films, including a few that might make you question how sane a character truly is.
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Vegas on Mars: Recalling ‘Total Recall’ 25 Years Later

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Philip K. Dick has enjoyed a surprisingly active and commercial afterlife considering the decidedly non-commercial nature of his output and the fact that, from a sales perspective, he was never more than a cult success during his lifetime. Then again, Dick’s posthumous popularity as the source for big-budget science fiction movies both revered (Total Recall, Minority Report) and not so revered (Paycheck, Next, The Adjustment Bureau) should perhaps not come as a surprise because Dick trafficked in the kind of sexy, hooky, accessible ideas movies love.

Dick has been adapted extensively in part because his work is so adaptable. Filmmakers can take the core of an idea explored in a Dick short story and adapt it any way they see fit, secure in the knowledge that if they take as many liberties with Dick’s work as filmmakers have tended to take, they only risk alienating a small core of Dick cultists. Sure enough, by the time the Dick short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” was adapted into 1990’s Total Recall a quarter-century ago by a divisive satirist with a uniquely bloody, extreme take on the grotesque excesses of American culture named Paul Verhoeven, it had already been through several different strikingly different iterations.
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The Weirdest Romantic-Horror Relationships on Film

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Part Richard Linklater love story, part Cronenbergian horror film, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s Spring — in theaters this weekend — follows the bizarre development of a fling between an American backpacker and mysterious woman in Italy who hides a dark, primordial secret. It’s an unusual romantic tale that follows in the footsteps of some of horror cinema’s strangest couples. Here are ten of the weirdest.
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Paul Éluard’s Poem “Liberty” Is the Unseen Star of ‘Maps to the Stars’

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Spoiler alert: this post contains vague references to occurrences at the end of Maps to the Stars.

Maps to the Stars begins in a mode of straightforward, Hollywood-brutalizing satire. We’re introduced, via Cronenberg’s bloodlessly still lens, to the players in the tritest of Hollywood nightmares. Each character reflects a Hollywood type so dominant as to seem, when rendered fictionally, hugely self-evident.
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The 50 Best Movies About Hollywood

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While many movies set in Tinseltown feature similar tropes and concerns — the awe-struck wannabe, a ruthless deal gone wrong, and a wrong career move that turns deadly — no two movies about Hollywood are exactly alike. The diversity of subjects in these films speaks volumes of the variety of La La Land residents who make up the Hollywood experience. Whether it’s a modern-day Babylon or a dream factory, movies about Hollywood are striking both for their cynicism and star-struck naiveté. In time for the release of Maps to the Stars, director David Cronenberg and screenwriter Bruce Wagner’s long-gestating satire, here is Flavorwire’s list of the 50 best movies about …Read More

Greek God Video Games and Celebrity Satire: Links You Need to See

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In video games, you’re probably used to battling with inane, unimposing creatures named Jigglypuff, steroid-stuffed turtles named Bowser, more inane, unimposing creatures named Wigglytuff,  — okay, it’s clear I haven’t played many video games. But even major gamers are probably used to battling silly fictitious characters cooked up by video game companies more than they’re accustomed to battling, say, Greek Gods. However, a new video game called Apotheon gives users the chance to truly test their mettle by battling the likes of Poseidon, Zeus, Apollo, and some nice, assorted cyclopses — all the while stuck in the world of a seemingly never-ending Grecian Urn. Whether you’re into ancient Greek art or simply really into the idea of lashing out at your Classics education by beating up some Greek Gods, Apotheon is worth checking out.
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‘Birdman,’ ‘Maps to the Stars,’ and Hollywood’s Current Vogue for Self-Obsession

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“Pray that those that eat, those that are eaten, and the act of eating be universally devoid of self,” celebrity therapist Dr. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) says smugly in Maps to the Stars, director David Cronenberg’s big, wet defecation on the deadening influence of Hollywood. He’s quoting the Dalai Lama, he says, but long before his cushy life goes up in flames, it’s clear that Weiss’ Buddhist wisdom is all smoke and mirrors, a vain stab at profundity from an exceedingly shallow man. Indeed, here, as in other recent depictions of Tinseltown’s insider baseball, such noble sentiments ring false, or are otherwise crushed by an industry no longer much interested in altruism. That four films from four directors, each with its own distinct style and tone, should tread such similar thematic ground in this short span of time suggests a certain discomfort with the changing rules of the game, a fear that the dog-eat-dog business of filmmaking threatens to annihilate a particular brand of film art. Call it the unexpected anxiety of obsolescence.
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