Mia Wasikowska

Maps to the Stars Movie

Canadian auteur David Cronenberg has a well-documented fascination with seeing social systems disrupted by chaos, whether they be romantic (The Fly), domestic (A History of Violence), psychological (A Dangerous Method), criminal (Eastern Promises), automotive (Crash) or technological (Videodrome, eXistenZ) in nature. Just as his suffocatingly stilted Cosmopolis set out to skewer the folly of capitalism in a long limo ride across Manhattan, Cronenberg’s latest, Maps to the Stars, seems explicitly crafted to serve as its West Coast counterpart, taking to task the wealthy, self-involved ranks that populate Hollywood. It may not be the sharpest of satires, but perhaps that unruliness is simply a matter of form reflecting content.

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The Double Jesse Eisenberg

Editor’s note: Our review of The Double originally ran during last year’s TIFF, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in theaters. Having previously delighted festival audiences with his charming debut, Submarine, filmmaker Richard Ayoade again returns to the oddball indie fold with his deeply bizarre and incredibly entertaining The Double. Based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella of the same name – no, you wait right there, this isn’t your high school English class Dostoevsky, you’re going to have fun here – Ayoades’s second feature centers on timid office worker Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg), a man incapable of getting (or even asking for) anything he wants whose existence is forever changed by a new co-worker – one who looks just like him but acts in a completely opposite manner. James Simon (also played by Eisenberg, because duh) is a smirking go-getter, a ladies’ man, and a carouser who everyone adores. Simon can’t even get his company’s security guard to recognize him (and he’s worked there seven years). Ayoade’s decision to place his film in a demented dystopia, equal parts Brazil, 1984, and 1950’s-inspired set dressing, is a brilliant one. By not grounding his film in reality, he is given immense freedom and is able to raise the “well, this ain’t believable” level quite high. We may never know where James came from (or where Simon came from, if you want to get philosophical here) or exactly how they’re linked, but the world they exist in is already so fantastic […]

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Maps to the Stars trailer

Although you won’t see her in the first promotional trailer for David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, it appears (at least according to the film’s IMDb page) that Carrie Fisher is co-starring in the auteur’s latest film as herself (or, perhaps more accurately, as a version of herself). Whereas the rest of the star-studded cast is saddled with hilariously fake-sounding names (John Cusack is “Dr. Stafford Weiss,” with Julianne Moore set to play “Havana Segrand” and Robert Pattinson rounding things out as “Jerome Fontana”) that make everyone seem like they’ve been picked to play characters in a high-minded pornographic film, Fisher apparently gets to keep her own. It’s a fitting choice for Cronenberg to file in a “Fisher” amongst other roles that are stuck with names like “Azita Wachtel” and “Sterl Carruth,” because at the very least it adds a touch of actual veracity to his latest feature – which is about Hollywood itself. Even in a city steeped in stage names, there has to be at least one “Carrie” to normalize things a bit (and this Carrie is a real one!), though Maps to the Stars looks as if it’s gloriously unbound to the normal.

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tracks-mia-driver

Director John Curran’s Tracks had solid showings at both Telluride and Venice film festivals, and with The Weinstein Company having snagged the epic Aussie adventure for US distribution rights, a theatrical drop date should be forthcoming. For now, we at least get our first look in a new trailer. The movie is adapted from Robyn Davidson’s autobiography of the same name, telling the story of her solo trek through almost two thousand miles of Australian desert, from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. With only the companionship of four camels and her dog, Diggity, during her adventure she met the unique folk you’d only find making a home of the desert and also, eventually, National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan, who documented her journey. Screenwriter Marion Nelson handled screen adaptation duties.

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Jesse Eisenberg in

Anyone who’s experimented with watching modern British sitcoms at all knows who Richard Ayoade is. As more and more people get hip to things like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and The IT Crowd, more and more people fall in love with his peculiar energy and geeky charm. It turns out acting isn’t the only skill that Ayoade has in his bag of tricks though. He’s also been writing and directing movies recently, with his 2010 film Submarine being both a strong debut for a filmmaker and an underrated coming of age tale that more people probably still need to see. It looks like fans of Ayoade’s acting who have been slacking when it comes to getting hip to his career as a filmmaker are going to have another chance to hop on board soon enough though, because the second film that he served as writer/director on, The Double, is fresh off of a successful debut on the festival circuit, and is getting ready ready for a limited run in theaters. And seeing as this one looks to be a noir-influenced thriller that features already well-regarded actors like Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, and the legendary Wallace Shawn, maybe more people will actually give it a look.

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Tracks

Some people go on vacation to find themselves. They start writing their novel, or get a makeover or eat/pray/love their way to self acceptance. But in 1977, Robyn Davidson took things in a slightly bigger direction when she gathered up some camels and trekked across the Australian outback from Alice Springs to the west coast — you know, just because. Davidson’s story is chronicled in Tracks, the adaptation of her revered “National Geographic” article turned memoir that stars Mia Wasikowska as the fearless adventurer and Adam Driver as the NatGeo photographer she picks up along the way to document the journey. Though Davidson’s trek begins as the grandest declaration of “ugh everyone just leave me alone please,” the inclusion of the photographer and the many lively human and non-human companions she meets during those 2000 treacherous miles out on the road allow her to open up to a new mindset about what she wants out of her walkabout. Maybe it’s not so bad to have a little company besides the camels?

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76046

No, you don’t need to adjust the prescription on your glasses; your vision is just fine. It’s the posters for Richard Ayoade‘s The Double, featuring stars Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, that are a bit off. The Double, based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella of the same name, centers on the meek Simon James, whose world is turned upside down with the arrival of his doppleganger. Everything Simon is not, the doppleganger takes over his life, sliding into his job and wooing his girl without anyone even remembering Simon existed. Watch the trailer here.

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Tracks

Robyn Davidson tells it plain – “I just want to be by myself” – but the budding nomad’s idea of solitary experience is an extreme one. Based on the true-life tale of Australian native Davidson, Tracks stars Mia Wasikowska as Davidson, who embarked on an extraordinary journey in 1977 that took her from Alice Springs (in the center of the continent) west to the Indian Ocean. On foot. It is a two thousand mile journey that, at best, can take six months. For someone who wants to be alone, it’s a hell of a way to do it. Robyn doesn’t do so well with people – at one point, she and her beloved dog Diggity literally hide behind her squatted home in an attempt to avoid contact with a pack of Robyn’s friends that she actually seems to like – so it’s not surprising that even though her trip across the desert is done with express purpose of being alone, Robyn eventually discovers that her desire to be solitary isn’t the safest thing for her (or, honestly, anyone).

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The Double Jesse Eisenberg

If there’s anything that could make Jesse Eisenberg more jittery than the man usually seems, it’s the presence of a menacing dopplegånger that nobody else has seemed to notice. The first teaser trailer for The Double, written and directed by Richard Ayoade (Submarine), doesn’t feature any dialogue, but it’s apparent from the little shown that we’re getting a glimpse at someone’s descent into madness. The Double, loosely based on a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novella of the same name, follows Simon as he struggles to comprehend the fact that there’s an identical version of himself out there who’s much more outgoing and confident, who’s starting to take over parts of his life. As he walks hard through scene after scene of dramatic lighting to Son House’s “Grinnin’ in Your Face,” it’s clear that his moodiness will likely develop into something more sinister. Check out the trailer for yourself here:

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jennifer-lawrence

What is Casting Couch? Casting news concerning names like Paul Giamatti, James Franco, Emmy Rossum, Mia Wasikowska, and even more. Many, many, more. We’re bursting. Now that she’s ruled the box office with her starring role in The Hunger Games and ruled awards season with her Oscar win for The Silver Linings Playbook, there’s only one logical next place for Jennifer Lawrence to go—the producer’s chair. That’s right, when an actor becomes a real force in Hollywood, we generally see them take a more creative role over the movies that they star in, and Variety is reporting that she’s going to be beginning that process by both starring in and producing her next project, Rules of Inheritance. From an Abi Morgan adaptation of Claire Bidwell Smith’s memoirs, and to be directed by Susanne Bier, Rules of Inheritance will see Lawrence playing a young woman “who loses her family, but finds herself in the process.” There’s a silver lining.

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georges-st-pierre

What is Casting Couch? It’s obsessed with the future, and never dwells in the past. Who cares about what these actors have accomplished already, what are they going to be doing next? Today we have some real news along with some anonymous speculation about who could be the new Snake Plissken. Today’s big news concerns a major casting for Marvel’s upcoming star-spangled sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Latino Review is reporting that UFC Champion and French-Canadian fellow, Georges St-Pierre, is going to be stepping out of the octagon and onto a movie set to play one of Cap’s villains. The obvious joke here, since St-Pierre is pseudo-French and a fighter, is that he would be playing super-lame Cap villain, Batroc the Leaper, whose only real powers are that he likes to do jump kicks and he’s got a French accent so strong that it triggers his gag reflex, but obviously a film version of Captain America would never…wait…he actually is going to be playing Batroc the Leaper? Oh, man. He grows the pencil-thin mustache or we riot.

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Stoker Movie

Editor’s note: This review originally ran as part of our Sundance 2013 coverage, but we’re re-running it to coincide with its arrival in limited theatrical release on 3/1. Park Chan-wook‘s films are held in deservedly high regard for various reasons. They’re often filled with desperate characters trapped in twisted, madcap situations, and while their worlds are violent and deadly places they’re never less than beautiful. He has an eye for framing and staging intensely attractive scenes of people laid bare emotionally and physically. His first English-language film, Stoker, opens in US theaters next month, and it’s already one of the year’s most visually appealing and strikingly stylish films. Unfortunately that’s pretty much all it is. India Stoker’s (Mia Wasikowska) father has died suddenly, but before she and her emotionally estranged mother (Nicole Kidman) can even begin to grieve, an uncle (Matthew Goode) she was previously unaware of arrives on their doorstep. Soon India’s already fractured world takes an ominous turn as people begin to disappear and Uncle Charlie’s interest in her moves in some inappropriate directions.

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Stoker poster

Three of the leading South Korean film directors are set to make their English language debuts next year, and while we’re incredibly excited to see all three succeed we’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little bit nervous too. First out of the gate will be Kim Jee-woon’s The Last Stand in January, and last to hit theaters will be Bong Joon-ho’s Snow Piercer late in the year. Nestled in between those two is the March release of Park Chan-wook‘s Stoker. But judging by the recent trailer debut and this newly released poster I don’t think we need to worry anymore that Hollywood has squashed Park’s creativity and talents. In a world where most poster “designs” are simply photoshop jobs appealing to the lowest common denominator Park and Fox Searchlight have opted instead to go with true art. Check out the full poster below.

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Rhys Ifans

Given the reliable financial formula of taking classic novels and turning them into feature films with lots of fancy period costumes and either Keira Knightley or Mia Wasikowska in the lead role, it was probably only a matter of time before somebody decided to make another film version of Gustave Flaubert’s influential masterpiece, “Madam Bovary.” So we weren’t at all surprised when it was announced that Cold Souls director Sophie Barthes would be taking a crack at the material, and that she had Wasikowska all booked up to be her lead. Sounded like a pretty good idea. But after that the pot was sweetened even further when versatile young actor Ezra Miller, who effectively played a creepy kid in We Need to Talk About Kevin and a flamboyant friend in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, was announced as playing one of the Bovary character’s many extramarital boy toys, and acting god Paul Giamatti signed on to play Monsieur Homais, a man who threatens to reveal the title character’s many indiscretions. Don’t think that Barthes and her crew are done when it comes to their attempts at luring you into watching a movie based off a book you avoided in high school, either. Variety is now reporting that another great actor is joining the cast, as Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, The Amazing Spider-Man) has signed on to play Monsieur Lheureux.

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Stoker Trailer

There’s nothing quite like a dead dad, a hot uncle, and a wicked mother to really mess a kid up. After all, that classic formula worked out totally okay (read: horribly) for young Hamlet and myriad others who were inspired by Shakespeare’s classic work, so why not just keep on keeping on with said formula? Sound a little played out? What if Park Chan-wookwas steering it? Oh, you’re interested now, are you? The Oldboy and Thirst director finally brings his talents to an English-language feature with the Wentworth Miller- and Erin Cressida Wilson-penned Stoker, starring Mia Wasikwoska, Matthew Goode, and a deliciously evil Nicole Kidman. The film’s first trailer makes its Hamlet bones clear early on, introducing us to India (Wasikowska), her nutball mother (Kidman), her recently departed dad (Dermot Mulroney), and the uncle she never knew she had (Goode), who comes to, ahem, attend to some things after ol’ Daddy Stoker’s death. And then, well, then things take a turn. Take a look:

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The twelve-year run of prohibition in the United States was a period that punctuated social imparity, religious activism, and was a launchpad for some of the biggest names in organized crime. Basically, it’s a mixed bag of deeply interesting subject matter that is spot-on perfect for the big screen. Director John Hillcoat‘s Lawless is a violent slice of that era’s dying days. Distilled by screenwriter Nick Cave from the pages of Matt Bondurant‘s 2008 historical novel, “The Wettest County in the World,” Lawless tells the story of the Bondurant brothers, a family of moonshiners in the Blue Ridge Foothills of Franklin County, Virginia. In the midst of the Great Depression, the citizenry of Franklin County carved a living out of  making moonshine, and none are more successful than the brothers Bondurant, who run a healthy bootlegging racket.

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Park Chan-wook

According to Box Office Mojo, Chan-wook Park‘s first English-language film, Stoker, will hit theaters on March 1, 2013. The film stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Jacki Weaver, Lucas Till and Dermot Mulroney in a story about a young girl who’s recently lost her father and has to deal with a strange uncle who arrives and embeds himself into her life. It’s exciting to see a definite release (this was on our list of Most Anticipated for 2012 as TBA), and it would be exciting to see any new Park work, but it’s especially interesting to see if he can avoid the pitfalls with making a movie within the studio system. He’s a bold visionary, and it’s unclear whether the potential of limitations might hamper his capabilities or whether he’ll use them to craft something incredible. We’ll see in March, the same weekend that Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium is schedule to screen. Not a bad double feature.

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Park Chan-wook is a talented filmmaker who’s never afraid to get experimental and crazy with his work, so film fans have been looking forward to his first English language movie for quite a while. The director’s breakthrough into the world of Hollywood will finally come in the form of a film called Stoker, which stars Mia Wasikowska as a teenage girl who’s forced to reconnect with a strange and probably dangerous uncle after the untimely death of her father. Just hearing that Park has gotten the chance to direct names like Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Jacki Weaver is enough to make Stoker a heavily anticipated release already, but today some new news broke that makes the movie look like even more of a surefire delight. According to Film Music Reporter, composer Clint Mansell has scored the film, and is currently recording its music at Air Studios in London. Mansell has been doing film work for a while, but he’s probably best known as being a longtime collaborator of Darren Aronofsky’s. Their work together has created some of the greatest scores of the last decade or so, with the soundtracks for Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain probably being the high points. Mansell was also responsible for the mellow tones that made up the score for Duncan Jones’ debut film Moon, a track list that surely shows up on a lot of movie score nuts’ top-ten of the 2000s lists. He is also a particular favorite of our own Allison […]

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If we were all to make lists of the young faces in Hollywood who are clearly destined for acting greatness, chances are that Mia Wasikowska’s name would appear near the top of most. From her coming-of-age turn in The Kids Are All Right, to her period work in Jane Eyre, to the mountains of box office business she did with Alice in Wonderland, Wasikowska is an actress who has shown limitless potential up to this point. It’s not hard to imagine that if she stays her current course, she’s bound to become one of those actresses who has a number of gold statues sitting up on her mantle by the time she decides to call it quits. So it’s with great interest that we follow the next few crucial steps that she takes on her career journey, and it just so happens some news on a new project the actress has signed on for has come out of Cannes today. Variety is reporting that Wasikowska has signed to star in Tracks, an adaptation of the memoirs of Robyn Davidson that’s set to be helmed by The Painted Veil and Stone director John Curran. Davidson’s memoirs, of the same title as this adaptation, have become pretty beloved since their mid-90s publication. Amazon describes her book by saying, “A cult classic with an ever-growing audience, ‘Tracks’ is the brilliantly written and frequently hilarious account of a young woman’s odyssey through the deserts of Australia, with no one but her dog and four […]

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In Lawless, John Hillcoat has almost crafted the perfect modern Western, infusing more explicitly the gangster genre elements that always occur in the genre, but never quite so explicitly. The film follows the Bondurant brothers – Jack (Shia Labeouf), Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) – rise as the most famous bootleggers in sun-dried Prohibition-era Virginia, and the government’s attempts to stop them. The government’s chief agent is Guy Pearce‘s Charlie Rakes, a flamboyant looking, but profoundly villainous Special Deputy, let off his leash when the Bondurants, lead by Hardy’s powerhouse Forrest refuse to pay a monthly toll on their illegal activities. While it may sound like an all guns-blazing, epic Prohibition-era Western, the story, adapted well from Matt Bondurant‘s historical novel by Nick Cave (who also once again offers a superlative score) focuses on human stories to add poignancy and depth to the more explosive sequences.

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