Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Maps To The Stars

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A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.

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Cast

Julianne Moore – Havana Segrand

Mia Wasikowska – Agatha Weiss

Robert Pattinson – Jerome

John Cusack – Dr. Stafford Weiss

Olivia Williams – Cristina Weiss

Evan Bird – Benjie Weiss

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Weird

Ok, that was strange. I mean – VERY strange. Incest, murder, fame, jealousy, bludgeoned dogs and therapy rule the day in Maps to the Stars and bind together to produce a movie which is ultimately more shocking than entertaining. In fact, I was sat staring at the screen frowning with my mouth slightly open quite a lot during this movie. Some of the ‘funny’ antics are just shocking – in a way only a black comedy can deliver. That said, Maps to the Stars didn’t really cut it when it came to being your average ‘black comedy’, mainly due to – well – the audience not laughing. This movie seemed to flow from beginning to end by surviving on one element – being twisted.

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I noticed throughout the film that there was hardly any audience reaction; no laughing or gasping, nothing. This gave the entire auditorium an air of indifference as Julianne Moore strutted around the screen, delivering probably the filthiest performance of her career. Shame, really. R-Patz is as pale as usual (did they even remove his make-up after the first Twilight movie?), John Cusack seems to up his characterisation skills, while Mia Wasikowska can’t seem to break out of her classic ‘sweet but weird girl’ appearance, and Olivia Williams gives one her best performances to date – it’s a bizarre line-up of actors who display some proper sick (as in sick, not ‘cool sick’) stuff.

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Pretentious

Maps to the Stars taps in to psyche of Hollywood and shows us what actually goes on behind closed studio doors. One scene stands out, where a group of four young teenage stars are sat talking on sofas at a cast / crew party. The girls are brimming with attitude, yet lack intelligence. The boys are relaxed and smirky, as they boast proudly about their drink and drug habits. The way the girls sit insulting various female Hollywood stars and erupting in giggles is cringeworthy. But the two actresses seem to nail it, portraying two clueless idiots who I ended up despising.

Julianne brings a character to the screen completely different to anything else I’ve seen from her. Slutty and whingey, the woman plays Havana Segrand – a woman I would probably hide from if I saw her in public. Her selfish attitude is held up with high maintenance – think of a mix of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. She struts around the screen like an ex-playboy bunny, eating up the attention others give her yet explodes into an emotional wreck when in private. Be it crying, screaming or giggling with joy, Julianne Moore uses an abundance of energy throughout the entire movie which never falters. In fact, I’d say she is without a doubt, the fuel of this movie – carrying it on her shoulders with a brilliantly convincing portrayal of a washed-up actress.
Well done, ‘Joz.

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Talky Talky

I warn you now – if its action you’re wanting, you’re in the wrong screen.

Maps to the Stars is incredibly ‘talky’ – the dialogue is colossal, and not whilst action is happening either. Much of this movie centers around each character’s specific issue, ensuring each of them gets their say – which is lengthy.
For example, the scene where Havana’s agent arrives at her house to see her about a part in a movie consists of Julianne (she must have been knackered) sat in her armchair, delivering one hell of a speech about her career and how she craves fame. It goes on for a while, but wasn’t as bad as other scenes. Some characters go on for longer, each one having more than his / her fair share of the spotlight. Young teen star Evan has a scene where he and his mother sit in front of a panel of movie executives, which quite honestly – bored the tits off me.

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I won’t lie – Maps to the Stars is tedious in places, not something I needed on a Friday night after a long week at work; having to listen intenly to in-depth dialogue between characters who seemed to only talk about themselves. Points lost from me on this element. Not good.

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Sinister

I wasn’t expecting an undercurrent of incest from this movie. The issue of brothers and sisters ‘getting jiggy’ arises at one point, which reveals the truth behind their children, etc. This twisted theme made me cringe – but ultimately, I couldn’t fathom why the director needed to include it. The sinister, grotesque atmosphere certainly housed it nicely, incest fit in perfectly. I suppose Mr. Cronenberg had a Fucked-Up Tick List:
Incest – check
Rape between mother & daughter – check
Asphyxiation – check
Ghosts – check
Murder – check

Ok, so I’ve answered my own question. Incest – why not? Still, the movie is sinister. Twisted. And not for people who get squeamish at themes such as those above.

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Maps to the Stars is sick.
It was completely different to what I thought it would be – in the wrong way.
But if you happen to be a fan of those messed up films that you interpret to be ‘artistic’ or ‘meaningful’ then you will no doubt enjoy it.
My only concern is that hardly any audience laughed during humourous parts, thus coming across as a movie with no affect on the viewers.

Julianne singlehandedly carries the feature and remains a brilliant energy source throughout. Top marks for her. Not so top marks for the movie itself.

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This entry was posted on September 27, 2014 by .
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