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Flash Movie Review: Maps to the Stars

With their arms stretched to their maximum length, they are yelling out the names of the celebrities walking past them. Though they are not close enough to touch; just a turn of the head, a slight nod, a smile or the ultimate acknowledgement–a wave of the hand, will make the bond between them complete. However, that connection is only in the spectator’s mind. Now you would think with my love of movies i would be right in the middle of that crowd, jostling my way to the front to catch the eye of a movie star, but you would be wrong. I absolutely want to be at the event, but do not see celebrities as demigods walking the planet. They are humans with bodies that function the same and are similar to anyone else. The rise in people’s fascination with celebrity/reality stars is something I find very odd. I do not understand why anyone would care about the mundane occurrences of essentially a stranger’s life. The thing that I find the most offensive are these “stars” who feel they need to bestow upon us their advice on what or how we should live our lives. Sorry but in my book just because someone has money doesn’t give them the right to tell me what I should or should not be doing. You cannot equate wealth with intelligence. In fact, there are many celebrities or wannabes who are filled with ugliness inside.    FROM all appearances Dr. Stafford and Christina Weiss, played by John Cusak (The Raven, High Fidelity) and Olivia Williams (An Education, Seventh Son), looked like a successful couple. With him being a best selling author and her managing the acting career of their son Benje, played by Evan Bird (Chained, The Killing-TV), it would be hard to imagine they had any problems. This film festival wining drama directed by David Cronenberg (Cosmopolis, A History of Violence) had an incredible cast that also included Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre, Alice in Wonderland) as Agatha and Julianne Moore (Still Alice, Non-Stop) playing Havana Segrand which she won at Cannes for best actress. The story showed how deep ugliness grows even in some of the most recognizable celebrities. I enjoyed the way the scenes moved from one character’s plight to another. Though the acting was wonderful there were parts of the film that did not gel for me. It almost felt as if there was not enough drive with the characters, becoming similar to caricatures. The writers seemed to have worked harder to show the ugliness in the characters than their history. I felt disconnected at times, similar to when I see celebrities in the news doing dumb things. There were a couple of brief scenes with blood in them.


2 1/2 stars

Flash Movie Review: Lorna’s Silence

The way the world works these days, there usually is an alternative solution that will get you the same results, albeit not legally. I may believe I have some street smarts, but I would be fooling myself if I did not think there are a lot of undocumented things happening around me. At present one of the hot political topics has to do with immigration. I had a crash course in the legalities of the issue when my niece became engaged to a wonderful man from France. Lorna, played by Arta Dobroshi (Late Bloomers, Magic Eye), worked at a cleaners, but hoped to open a snack shop one day. To get to her goal, she agreed to enter into a sham marriage arranged by local, small time mobster Fabio, played by Fabrizio Rongione (The Kid with a Bike, The Child). Besides the financial gain, Lorna would more importantly obtain Belgian citizenship. Everything  was going smoothly until her husband, a junkie, asked for her help in getting clean. At the beginning of this dramatic film, I was not sure where the story was going; I felt out of synch with it. However, I soon realized that is what the directors had in mind. Lorna and her husband were not so dissimilar after all. The range of feelings they displayed felt like I was watching a tennis match; going from dominance to weakness to manipulation. This film did not take a page out of the Hollywood handbook; it was a bare bones story that fully used its actors’ abilities. A raw tense movie, this Cannes and Lumiere winning film gave a glimpse into what I am sure has been a real occurence in life. French, Albanian, Russian with English subtitles.


3 stars — DVD

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