Two fantastic, 10/10 films that I’ve seen in the past two weeks offer some serious talent in front and behind the camera- David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars and David Fincher’s Gone Girl. We have two directors in perfect, top, and diabolical form. Two distinct filmmakers that have garnered well deserved success but never shy away from their strong aesthetics. But it’s 2014, competition is tough as nails right now in the film industry, there’s so much talent right now like Paul Thomas Anderson and Richard Linklater, just to name a couple directors. So what’s the key in making one’s film standout? Casting. And in Fincher and Cronenberg’s case, they hit a gold mine with their lead female actors.
Rosamund Pike absolutely stole the show in Gone Girl. Her character was given a great arc by screenwriter/author, Gillian Flynn and Fincher propels this transformation with terrifying effect. The sharp editing, the mysterious score, and even the comedic timing made every moment of this film watchable, especially when Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) was on screen or off screen- narrating. I don’t want to give the movie away for anyone that hasn’t seen it-so go see it! Pike shifts her character almost seamlessly from warm to cold, with her expressive voice, with her body, her face, etc. This is a tour-de-force performance that should certainly garner her a Best Actress nomination come awards season (I have a feeling the NYFCC will give her that best actress win boosting her chances with the Oscars). Gone Girl is a sick, twisted, joke and I mean that in the best way possible. David Fincher has made a great a film but without Rosamund Pike delivering one the best performances of 2014, Fincher may not have had his “Amazing Amy.”
Another actress also is being highly talked about this year and this is certainly not the first time in her career where she’s been this highly praised. I’m talking about Julianne Moore and her outrageously brilliant performance in David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars. She plays a desperate, 40-something, out of work actress in Hollywood trying to get her big break in playing the role her dead mother once played years ago. Cronenberg infuses so much venomous bite and witty commentary on Hollywood through Bruce Wagner’s script, that anyone who understands the film industry will find it humorous. Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska (in yet another one of my favorite movies of the year) and John Cusack do some great work. But it’s Moore who eats this material up, from savage to sexual to pathetically sympathetic this actress tears the screen up and makes me wish she had more screen time. Julianne Moore at 53, proves age is meaningless and not just talent wise, but physically she radiated every shot that Cronenberg’s team put together on screen. The 2014 Cannes Film Festival awarded Moore the Best Actress prize, which makes her a strong contender for the Oscars. She’d have a better chance in the Supporting Actress race, seeing as how she’s a lock for Best Actress in Still Alice, opposite Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart. Maybe two nominations this year? It depends if enough people go see Maps to the Stars…so go see it!
Gone Girl– Now Playing
Maps to the Stars– Coming Soon- (playing in International markets)