John Cusack

The 5 Best Movies to Buy or Stream This Week: ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ ‘The Sure Thing’

Your “new” DVD and streaming releases are pretty dire this week, consisting as they do of the dull would-be Oscar contender Unbroken, the charmless Into the Woods, and the merciful conclusion of the Hobbit trilogy. But, as usual, the catalog titles save the day, with two vintage documentaries from Criterion, an off-brand sleeper by Robert Altman, a Rob Reiner sex comedy, and a forgotten but fascinating Wim Wenders odyssey. Plus, Netflix offers a chance to see how two films become one. … Read More

  • 0

The Best and Worst of the 2015 SXSW Film Festival

The SXSW Film Festival will continue through the weekend (albeit mostly with repeat screenings and music-related films, pegged to the concurrent music fest), but your correspondent has returned from Austin, with a belly full of BBQ and a head full of leftover images and snatches of dialogue from the 21 narrative and documentary films I took in over my week in Texas. Here are a few thoughts on each, along with the best and worst films I saw there. … Read More

  • 0

Paul Éluard’s Poem “Liberty” Is the Unseen Star of ‘Maps to the Stars’

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. … Read More

  • 0

‘Birdman,’ ‘Maps to the Stars,’ and Hollywood’s Current Vogue for Self-Obsession

“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. … Read More

  • 0

Flavorwire’s Guide to Indie Flicks to See in February

There’s plenty to talk about in the indie film world right now, but most of it is coming off of Sundance — and, sadly, we won’t get to see most of those movies for several more months. But the art houses certainly aren’t going dark this month; we’ve got several terrific new indies out for February (many hitting theaters and home screens after running the festival gauntlet last year). Here are eight that you shouldn’t miss, particularly if you find yourself heading out with someone who’s dead set on, say, Fifty Shades of… Read More

  • 0

Ambiguity Is Dead: ‘Say Anything,’ ‘The Sopranos,’ and Pop Culture’s New Closure Obsession

I was 14 years old when I first saw Say Anything…, and when the ending arrived, I didn’t get it. At all. I mean, there they are on the plane, having been through so much stuff: virginity loss, painful break-up, parental imprisonment, even learning to drive a stick shift. (From my current vantage point, as someone who’s never made it past an automatic, that last one sounds the most traumatic to me.) But there they were, heading overseas and trying to make a go of it, but then there’s this business with the ding and a cut to black, and that’s it? What happens after that? Well, 14-year-old me would be relieved to know that NBC is finally setting out to answer that question, via a TV spin-off/sequel that sounds like the stupidest fucking idea since Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? … Read More

  • 0

12 Must-See Movies at This Year’s New York Film Festival

Tonight, the New York Film Festival kicks off its 52nd (!) edition with the world premiere of David Fincher’s highly anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. We’ll have more on that film (and that premiere) in this space tomorrow, but in the meantime, we’ve had the chance to check out several other NYFF selections that are well worth your time over the next two weeks (should you happen to be in the area), or in the months to come as they make their way to your theaters and on-demand platforms. … Read More

  • 0

Cronenberg’s ‘Maps to the Stars’ Is Wickedly Funny and Deliciously Dark

So here’s a mean, nasty little piece of work — and I have a feeling director David Cronenberg would take that as the compliment it’s intended to be. Maps to the Stars is part vicious Hollywood satire, part portrait of horrifying dysfunction, and part (no kidding) Greek mythology. Early on, I found myself jotting down echoes and influences: The Player, Douglas Sirk, Mulholland Drive, Cronenberg’s own Cosmopolis. At some point, I stopped playing connect-the-dots, because that’s missing the point: you can trace its genealogy all you want, but at the end of the day, Maps is its own, utterly deranged thing. … Read More

  • 0

Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments.

… Read More

  • 0
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 18,493 other followers