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17 August 2012

Cahiers du Vleeptron is whipped up in a froth to see Cronenberg's latest strange thing, "Cosmopolis" / where is the harm? huh? / Ben & Jerry's, antidote for heartache / she said she was sorry

Cliquez le fiche pour le plus grande.

When Robert Pattinson -- famed from his "Twilight" saga teenage vampire movies -- made his first television appearance earlier this week, on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart and Pattinson devoured quarts of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Pattinson is just getting over the Worst Breakup & gf Betrayal Ever.

(She said she was sorry she banged the movie director.)

Cahiers du Vleeptron is a total sucker for any Cronenberg flick.

Our all-time favorite is Cronenberg's "Crash."

What are the 2 Great Themes of all Hollywood movies?

1. Sex

2. High-Speed car wrecks

So where is the harm, where is the harm, when Cronenberg mates Sex with High-Speed Car Wrecks? 


Where is the harm in getting stiff nipples and huge erections by smashing hot car metal and windshield glass on urban highways at 90 miles per hour?

Huh? Where is the harm?

No. We lied. Cronenberg's greatest, weirdest, screwiest, whackiest film is "Videodrome" with James Woods and Debbie Harry (of Blondie).

What TV channel has the filthiest most hard-core porn ever?

Civic TV -- with its hypnotic new enhanced encoded signal!

Okay, we're still lying. "Videodrome" isn't about weird ultra-kinky TV porn.

It's about Marshall McLuhan (1911 – 1980). He's the real star of "Videodrome."

"North America's getting soft, Patron."
Cosmopolis (film)
Directed by     David Cronenberg
Produced by     Paulo Branco
Renee Tab
David Cronenberg
Martin Katz
Screenplay by     David Cronenberg
Based on     Cosmopolis by
Don DeLillo
Starring     Robert Pattinson
Paul Giamatti
Samantha Morton
Sarah Gadon
Mathieu Amalric
Juliette Binoche
Music by     Howard Shore
Studio     Alfama Films
Prospero Pictures
Toronto Antenna
Distributed by     Entertainment One
Release date(s)    

    May 25, 2012 (Cannes)
    June 8, 2012 (Canada)
    August 17, 2012 (US)

Running time     109 minutes[3]
Country     France
Language     English
Box office     $2,837,056[4]

Cosmopolis is a 2012 drama film starring Robert Pattinson, directed by David Cronenberg. It is based on the novel of the same name by Don DeLillo. On May 25, 2012, the film premiered in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival,[5] drawing mixed early critical reactions.[6] The film was released in Canada on June 8, 2012,[7] and is scheduled to have a limited release in the United States on August 17, 2012.[8]


Billionaire Eric Packer (Pattinson) rides slowly across Manhattan in his limousine that he uses as his office while on his way to his preferred barber, even though there are traffic jams. The traffic jams are caused by a visit of the president of the United States and by the funeral of Eric's favourite musician, whose music he plays in one of his two private elevators. He has recently married. In the car and elsewhere, he has meetings with his wife, who does not want sex with him, to save energy that she needs for her work. Instead, he has sex with other women. In his car, while having a meeting, he has his doctor carry out his daily medical checkup; Eric worries about the doctor's finding that he has an asymmetrical prostate. After devastating currency speculation, he kills his bodyguard and follows a path of further self-destruction, including visiting his potential murderer and deliberately shooting himself in the hand.


    Robert Pattinson as Eric Packer
    Jay Baruchel as Shiner
    Paul Giamatti as Benno Levin
    Kevin Durand as Torval
    Juliette Binoche as Didi Fancher, Eric's art consultant, with whom Eric has an affair
    Samantha Morton as Vija Kinsky, Eric’s chief advisor
    Sarah Gadon as Elise Shifrin
    Mathieu Amalric as André Petrescu aka The Pastry Assassin
    K'naan as Brutha Fez, a rap artist
    Emily Hampshire as Jane Melman, Eric's chief of finance
    Patricia McKenzie as Kendra Hays, Eric's bodyguard, with whom Eric has an affair


News about a film adaptation of Cosmopolis first emerged on 10 February 2009 when Geoffrey Macnab, writing for, reported that "In his most ambitious project to date, international producer Paulo Branco is plotting a $10m-12m film based on the novel Cosmopolis by legendary US writer Don DeLillo. Branco's Alfama Films is producing the film about a day in the life of a young billionaire financier who, over the course of a traumatic day, loses all his wealth. A director will be named shortly and DeLillo is on board to collaborate."[9]

On July 26, 2009, it was announced that Canadian director David Cronenberg had become involved in the project and would now bring the novel to the screen. The film was scheduled to begin filming in 2010, with Paulo Branco's Paris-based production house Alfama Films co-producing with Cronenberg's Toronto Antenna Ltd.[10]

On September 3, 2009, Paulo Branco officially confirmed to that "Cronenberg has now finished his screenplay and is now looking to cast the film."[11]

On January 13, 2010, it was reported that Cronenberg was still committed to the film, although a cast and a starting date for production were yet to be announced. Cronenberg said that everyone was "happy with the script" and he was "very fond" of the project.[12]

The filming took place in Toronto and was completed in July 2011.

Colin Farrell was initially cast in the main role but left due to scheduling difficulties with Total Recall.[13] He was later replaced by Pattinson. Marion Cotillard was involved in the project but also left because of scheduling conflicts.[14]


Cosmopolis premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 25, 2012.

Cosmopolis received mixed to positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an aggregate score of 66% positive reviews from 46 reviews counted, with an average score of 5.8 out of 10.[15] Justin Chang of Variety wrote: "An eerily precise match of filmmaker and material, Cosmopolis probes the soullessness of the 1% with the cinematic equivalent of latex gloves. ... Pattinson's excellent performance reps an indispensable asset."[16] Robbie Collin of The Telegraph gave the film four stars out of five, stating, "It's a smart inversion of Cronenberg’s 1999 film eXistenZ: rather than being umbilically connected to a virtual world, Packer is hermetically sealed off from the real one. At its heart is a sensational central performance from Robert Pattinson – yes, that Robert Pattinson – as Packer. Pattinson plays him like a human caldera; stony on the surface, with volcanic chambers of nervous energy and self-loathing churning deep below."[17] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly stated, "Cosmopolis includes its own version of the Occupy hordes: scruffy, vengeful protesters who run around the streets, and into restaurants, brandishing the bodies of dead rats. ... Pattinson, pale and predatory even without his pasty-white vampire makeup, delivers his frigid pensées with rhythmic confidence."[18]

However, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter criticized the film writing, "Lifeless, stagey and lacking a palpable subversive pulse despite the ready opportunities offered by the material, this stillborn adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel initially will attract some Robert Pattinson fans but will be widely met with audience indifference."[19]

Films directed by David Cronenberg

Stereo (1969)
Crimes of the Future (1970)
Shivers (1975)
Rabid (1977)
Fast Company (1979)
The Brood (1979)
Scanners (1981)
Videodrome (1983)
The Dead Zone (1983)
The Fly (1986)
Dead Ringers (1988)
Naked Lunch (1991)
M. Butterfly (1993)
Crash (1996)

eXistenZ (1999)
Spider (2002)
A History of Violence (2005)
Eastern Promises (2007)
A Dangerous Method (2011)
Cosmopolis (2012)


The New York Times
Thursday 16 August 2012

Master of a Shrinking Universe

‘Cosmopolis,’ Directed by David Cronenberg

by Manohla Dargis

The first image in David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis,” a cold, funny number about the erotics of money and the seduction of death, is that of a chrome grille on a white stretch limousine. The shot is a close-up that’s so tightly framed that the grille, with its U shape and vertical bars, looks as if it were smiling. It also looks like a shark, a perfect starting point for a story about a master of the universe who, over one long day and night, lives, eats, evacuates and fornicates in the limo. A master who, like some kind of millennial Jonah, has taken up residence in the belly of a new beast.

The limo belongs to Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson), a young money man whose mysterious ways with capital have made him so unfathomably rich that he seems to have transcended everyday flop-sweat wheeling and dealing and reached a permanent state of Zen. You first see him next to a building, as unmoving and marble white as a Greek statue (or maybe a stiff). He’s impeccably dressed in a black suit and white shirt, with a meticulously knotted tie, a luxuriant slick swirl of hair and fathomless blue eyes initially obscured by dark glasses. The world is his succulent oyster. But all that Eric wants — all that this contemporary god who lives in a tower and plays with money needs — is a haircut.

“Cosmopolis” is an extraordinarily faithful adaptation of the not especially well-regarded 2003 novel by Don DeLillo, so it’s no surprise that the movie didn’t find much love when it played at the Cannes Film Festival in May. The story is as sleek as its limo is symbolically lugubrious. While being driven around New York, a zomboid billionaire loses a great deal and, by doing so, becomes human. It’s the end of the world, or at least one world, in a movie that’s opaque and transparent, as well as discomfortingly real, suggestively allegorical and perversely comic, never more so than during a prostate exam that — with a snap of latex and the crown of sweat that beads across Eric’s perfect alabaster head — becomes a sexualized display.

The prostate exam, like so much else in the movie, takes place in the limo. But before Eric gets in to begin his strange journey, he diffidently informs his head of security, Shiner (Jay Baruchel), that “we need a haircut.” In this context the royal we is of course, preposterous, both too big for such a small desire and terribly puny for the centuries of royal prerogative that Eric evokes when he uses it. The first person plural also suggests that there’s an identity crisis lurking behind those dark glasses, and that the man who will soon settle into the limo isn’t a unified “I” in the familiar, comfortingly coherent Cartesian sense of “I think, therefore I am.”

Eric, you see, is a contingent creation, an accretion of habits and conventions, a postmodern construction. At first he seems like a manifestation of the artist Barbara Kruger’s brilliant 1987 commentary on consumer culture: “I Shop Therefore I Am.” Eric buys and sells money, but because money has changed, the self who buys and sells it has transformed too.

“Money has taken a turn,” says Eric’s chief of theory, Vija Kinsky (Samantha Morton, a mesmerizing, droning delivery system), one of the handful of visitors who pop in and out of Eric’s limo, dispensing bad news and aperçus. The Greeks had a word for the art of moneymaking (“chrimatistikos”), but now, she continues, “all wealth has become wealth for its own sake,” and money, having lost its narrative quality, “is talking to itself.”

From the way that Eric’s business is quickly spiraling downward, money appears to have stopped talking to him. This may be why he wants a haircut, but only from his father’s old barber, a yearning that summons up family, tradition, simplicity and those old lost days when money bought something tangible, something you could touch as effortlessly as the bristles of newly shorn hair.

Eric may work with money, but only in the most abstract sense. He doesn’t move money, but rather gazes at numbers flowing on the glowing blue monitors in his limo. What’s missing is the thrill of the hunt, the buy and sell, the fear and desire. He sprawls on his thronelike perch in the limo, having satisfied every whim, and while he wants more, always more, there’s a sense that he’s bought himself into oblivion.

A series of events, some involving the mysteriously unpredictable yuan, forcibly and with escalating violence shake Eric out of his torpor. Nearly affectless at first, Mr. Pattinson makes a fine member of the Cronenbergian walking dead, with a glacial, blank beauty that brings to mind Deborah Kara Unger in the director’s version of J. G. Ballard’s “Crash.” Mr. Pattinson can be a surprisingly animated presence (at least he was on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” where he recently put in a game appearance), and he may be capable of greater nuance and depth than is usually asked of him. Certainly, with his transfixing mask and dead stare, he looks the part he plays here and delivers a physical performance that holds up to a battery of abuses, including that prostate exam and some anticlimactic tears.

Mr. Cronenberg’s direction throughout “Cosmopolis” is impeccable, both inside the limo and out. The difficulties of shooting in such a tight space, which seems to expand and contract depending on the scene (as if the car were breathing), are conspicuous but rendered invisible by his masterly filmmaking. Mr. Cronenberg keeps you rapt, even when the story and actors don’t. Some of this disengagement is certainly intentional. Taken as a commentary on the state of the world in the era of late capitalism (for starters), “Cosmopolis” can seem obvious and almost banal. But these banalities, which here are accompanied by glazed eyes, are also to the point: the world is burning, and all that some of us do is look at the flames with exhausted familiarity.

Eric conducts a great deal of business inside his limo, a dark, gleaming space in which different monitors are roused to virtual life like luminous underwater creatures. The limo is an extension of Eric: it’s car and carapace both, but it also provides him with literal windows onto a world that, as the day unfolds, comes ferociously, threateningly alive with anarchist protests, a vision of self-annihilation and stirrings of revolution. From inside the limo, these images surround Eric like a wraparound movie screen and can look as ersatz as the rear-projection in an old Hollywood film. Each time Eric steps outside, though, these screens fall away, and he’s left in a mounting frenzy of life and death, one that affirms its reality with brutal finality.

“Cosmopolis” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Adult sex and violence.


Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Written and directed by David Cronenberg, based on the novel by Don DeLillo; director of photography, Peter Suschitzky; edited by Ronald Sanders; music by Howard Shore; production design by Arv Grewal; costumes by Denise Cronenberg; produced by Paulo Branco and Martin Katz; released by Entertainment One. Running time: 1 hour 48 minutes.

WITH: Robert Pattinson (Eric Packer), Juliette Binoche (Didi Fancher), Sarah Gadon (Elise Schifrin), Mathieu Amalric (Andre Petrescu), Jay Baruchel (Shiner), Kevin Durand (Torval), K’Naan (Brutha Fez), Emily Hampshire (Jane Melman), Samantha Morton (Vija Kinsky) and Paul Giamatti (Richard Sheets/Benno Levin).

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Landscape Windscreen said...

Pop Trivia:
The Sex & Car Wrecks thing comes from a story by famed SF author J. G. Ballard. He might be best known for the autobiographical Empire of the Sun but if you happen to find a book with this short stories then do read it. This might be the only SF writer ever who does not believe in space travel. Ballard has influenced everything from film makers to writers like bloody flaming William Gibson to Gary Numan, The Normal and whatnot.

Don’t get me started on Marshall McLuhan. Legend has it that Cronenberg was one of McLuhan’s students ca 66/67. I wonder what dear ol’ Marsh would make of Twitter, Netflix and DropBox.....

And you know what my next Friday Nite Sixpack Movie will be ? Yep, Videodrome.

Actually I like Cronenberg movies (if they ever broadcast Shivers on TV again, watch it), and Don DeLillo is one of the most interesting american writers at the moment. But that idiot from that idiotic bloody flaming Twilight kwatsch ? Meh, I dunno.....

Bob, convince me to watch this movie !

Vleeptron Dude said...

oh yeah, the Vleeptron Dude is intimately acquainted with la vie et l'oeuvre du J.G. Ballard. (The David Spade role in "Crash" is supposed to be Ballard.) I have that book of stories by Ballard. I have great admiration for his writing and vision.

As a general rule, I don't like Spielberg movies, I think most of them are dumb and mass-pop Cinaquad Multi-Odeon mall summer blockbuster movies. But he made one brilliant, mesmerizing film with a deep human core: Empire of the Sun. By -- and about -- J.G. Ballard.

I also hate almost all child actors (though I love actual human children -- I just hate the ones that emotionally manipulate me in movies).

But young Christian Bale's performance as young Ballard was amazing, astonishing. I've been an enormous fan of Bale ever since.

(But I don't pay money to see the dumb Batman movies -- Bale says he's never wearing the rubber Batman soot again.)

S.W.M.B.O. read the NY Times review of "Cosmopolis" and has made it klar perfekt that No Way is she letting me drag her to see this Feel-Bad-Hit-of-the-Season.

Convince you to watch "Cosmopolis"? I don't have to. It's a new Cronenberg movie. Like the Sirens singing to Odysseus though he had his sailors lash him to the mast, it will sing to you every time you pass the movie theater where it's playing. Eventually you will weaken and pay the New Swiss Francs and go in.

Reistance is futile. Prepare to be assimilated.