Maps to the Stars (VOD, iTunes) A fascinating failure, David Cronenberg's adaptation of Bruce Wagner's screenplay is a pitch-black Hollywood satire, with last week's Oscar winner, Julianne Moore, as a Hollywood actress trying to re-spark her career by landing the lead in a remake of the film that made her mother a movie star decades earlier. Mia Wasikowska is a stalker-esque stranger who fixes herself to Moore, while John Cusack plays a New Age guru whose son (Evan Bird) is a potty-mouthed, malicious child star. As a limo driver with movie biz ambitions, Robert Pattinson shows up at key intersections of the plot - one in which drugs, sex, incest, and death figure at almost every turn. R
The Sound of Music FAQ Barry Monush (Applause Books, $27.99) and The Sound of Music Story Tom Santopietro (St. Martin's Press, $28.99) Lady Gaga is not the only one gaga for Robert Wise's 1965 musical about the singing von Trapps and the governess who quits the nunnery to take them in her charge. For the 50th anniversary of the release of The Sound of Music, winner of five Oscars including best picture, and one of the most successful movies of all time, two books hit the shelves.
Monush's FAQ is chock-full of listicles and factoids, offering a timeline of "key events in the Trapp lives, the stage musical and the motion picture," and tracing the myriad influences and impact that Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and gang have had on the pop culture landscape.
Santopietro's book - subtitled How a Beguiling Young Novice, A Handsome Austrian Captain, and Ten Singing von Trapp Children Inspired the Most Beloved Film of All Time - takes a literally more prosaic approach, tracing the biographical origins of its central characters, the metamorphosis to stage musical, and the casting of the film in doggedly researched chapters. (Yes, Doris Day and Grace Kelly were both considered for the role of Maria.)