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Yes No Maybe So: "Maps to the Stars"

Yesterday two new trailers appeared for David Cronenberg's Maps to the StarsI'm not embedding them specifically because I can't find sharp images (the main one floating around seems like a bad stolen print of a trailer - very underlit) and the international one (NSFW) has too many auto-play ads and works less well as a coherent snapshot of the movie.

I'm hoping Maps skirts the usual trends of public reaction to Cronenberg films. It often follows this pattern:

1. Healthy amount of media coverage and excitement before their films premiere (remember all the A Dangerous Method hoopla?)
2. A curiously muted release (sometimes only limited) with a tiny bit of coverage focused on whichever big star is doing whichever genuinely weird thing they're asked to do in the movie. Think Robert Pattinson getting an enema in the limo in Cosmopolis
3. Almost no follow up conversation online or lines at the box office despite the movies always being genuinely strong conversation pieces...

I hope for better for Cronenberg as one of the world's most consistently fascinating auteurs. The new film appears to be a Hollywood satire about a possibly soulless actress (Julianne Moore) and her new possibly sinister personal assistant (Mia Wasikowska) and a young carnal man involved with both of them Robert Pattinson). Both the actress and her assistant have some sort of dark secret / shady past involving a deadly fire and a bunch of other characters played by Olivia Williams (yay), John Cusack (no sale!) Sarah Gadon (more please), and Evan Bird (The Killing) who is playing a former child star and the brother to Wasikowska. 

a brief Yes No Maybe So breakdown

• Robert Pattinson doing my favorite actresses in cars has so far been a pleasure
• Sarah Gadon's role looks interesting - is she a psychotic internal projection of Julianne Moore's or an actual character?
• that largely female cast is intriguing
• I'm all in for movies about showbiz and Cronenberg's outside eyes might provide a funhouse mirror on Tinseltown
• Julianne throwing a hissy fit in yoga pants is pretty funny
• Julianne in general looks like she's having a ton of fun with her part and she's always best when she's serving auteurs
• Julianne with loose morals in bed with multiple people. Yes, please (see also: Savage Grace)  
• few actresses are as reliably delicious while playing actresses as Julianne Moore is (see also: Boogie Nights/Vanya/Benny&Joon)
• ... and, well, Julianne because she's Julianne

• Maybe it's just the disorganization of the trailers but is this a chaotic incoherent tonally inconsistent folly of a picture?
• Why did it have to be John Cusack? I want Viggo Mortensen in every Cronenberg picture 

• Mia Wasikowska has been all possible gradations in movies thus far: great, good, bad, indifferent so it's tough to know whether or not to be excited about her. So very hit and miss and everywhere inbetween.
• Carrie Fisher plays herself in the movie !!! (but, alas, I didn't spot her in the trailer)

[While thinking 'Yes!'] Noooo!"


I'm a completist with Julianne (even if I fall behind sometimes because she works so often. I haven't yet seen Non-Stop or The English Teacher) and try not to miss a Cronenberg so I'm a yes by default but I feel curiously little watching those all over the place trailers which makes me maybeso worried.

How about you?

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Reader Comments (23)

My YES could be heard from space.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJA

These trailers made my week. BIG yes. I thought this was going to be Robert Pattinson's show again, so all this Julianne/Mia action has got me in a frenzy. Also Julianne is the Mrs. Robinson of apparently a whole generation of baby stars at this point. Who will she inappropriately seduce next??

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

A definitive YES from me. Loved Cosmopolis (having read the book, it was a little easier to grasp). I'm impressed by the cast lineup for Maps, the official trailer definitely wetted my appetite, it's a real pity the poorly edited leaked sales reel came out before the official (far superior) trailer did and the media outlets ran with that one instead. It wasn't meant for the masses. Producer Martin Katz confirmed on his twitter that it shouldn't have been leaked.
Glad to see Robert Pattinson being used by Cronenberg once again, the guy's got a real talent and onscreen presence yet to be appreciated by the masses. Watch this space.
Sarah Gadon is playing the ghost of Julianne Moore's mother by the way. It all looks weird and wonderful. I'm definitely going to be a bum in a seat at the cinema for this. Cannes will help it's profile.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJess

I'm a NO based on both trailers. I'll need to see the reviews first.

And WHERE is the Yes No Maybe So for Fincher's GONE GIRL?

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJay

I remember feeling a little disappointed after watching Cosmopolis because it had a completely different energy than what the trailer suggested, I know that's a common occurrence with trailers but I was really unprepared to sit through the film that it turned out to be. I ended up liking the movie anyway (I think), but I'm keeping that in mind this time around. I'm a yes, but a cautious one.

Also, if what Jess says about Gadon's character is true then that makes the sex scene in the trailer all kinds of WTF. What's a Cronenberg flick without some of that, though?

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

Those could not be two more disparate trailers. I was a maybe so after the first thinking it was some sort of weak comedy satire, but the second sold me. Even if it gets poor reviews, I"m in for that piece of weird genius. Yes, yes, yes.

Love JM as a blonde.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I'm a YES to everything, Julianne mainly, but a big NO to Cusack. He cheapens a film at this point.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Nat: John Cusack has the look of a vaguely sleazy self-help manual peddler (that detail isn't stated in these trailers) these days, Viggo really doesn't. John Hawkes also might have worked in this one, though, if Cronenberg was aiming for a good actor who could also capture that look.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Did you read Fernando Meirelles Blindness blog? He told Julianne hates herself as a blonde and that was her choice for that character. She simply decided that part deserved blondness and went for it. I wonder what happened now.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I'm a yes on all things Cronenberg!

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

Mia Wasikowska has never been bad --- maybe in Alice In Wonderland she was out of her element, all that green screen shit is cryptonite for most actors. Mia is probably the actress with the best taste in filmmakers right now; wants to work with singular filmmakers--- she's obviously a believer in the auteur theory. Tim Burton, Gus Van Sant, Cary Fukunaga, John Hillcoat, Chan-wook Park, Jim Jarmusch, David Cronenberg, Richard Ayoade, Guillermo del Toro - that's an impressive list for anyone, but she's only 24...

I don't share your love for Julianne Moore. She works too much, on too many bland projects, with too many hack directors, and her performances suffer for it. And she cries too much in movies, doesn't she realize it's the audience who's supposed too cry, NOT the actor up on the screen?.

I'm a YES, only because I see EVERYTHING, with the exception of children's movies.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

Ulrich -- i thought Mia was straight up bad in Albert Nobbs (but then only a couple of actors were really good in that one which had a lot of performance trouble) and nearly bad but just kind of weak in Alice in Wonderland. Also thought she pushed it too hard in Stoker taking an interesting role and making it... less so. I hear she's very good in Tracks and she's brilliant in Jane Eyre and very good in Kids are all right. so i stand by the 'all over the place' comment :)

April 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Sorry, but this is another "wash, rinse and repeat" Cronenberg film, designed to try to shock the audience with something really dark and psychotic about people. Seen too many of his films and this is another one of them, only less impressive.
Big resounding NO.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBig Hype

Sorry, but this is another "wash, rinse and repeat" Cronenberg film, designed to try to shock the audience with something really dark and psychotic about people. Seen too many of his films and this is another one of them, only less impressive.
Big resounding NO.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBig Hype

I'm a yes for anything that involves comedic Julieanne Moore!

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

Nathaniel-when you return with the podcast, I think asking Nick, Katey, Joe (and of course yourself) what actors/directors they are "completists" on would be a fascinating topic. I always find it interesting seeing what artists certain people seek out.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I'm a Maybe. Definitely not a Cronenberg completest, but him plus Moore and Wasikowska and Pattinson (is it weird that I'm rooting for him to be good even though I have no reason to?) make me intrigued.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

The image of Pattinson thrusting behind Moore fills me with mixed emotions. Get away from her!!!

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

Joey - LOL.

DJDeeDay - I feel the same about Pattinson. Maybe because I've thought he was at least decent in everything BUT Twilight, I am curious about him.

April 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

MOORE bad bad actress :(

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKYLE

a hundred times yes

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterClara

I'm feeling a yes.

April 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

I'm a big fat yes, especially since I thought this had only recently started shooting and wouldn't be ready until sometime next year. So this is like Christmas in April.

April 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

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