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Entries in James Franco (44)

Tuesday
Apr212015

Tribeca: "The Adderall Diaries" and "Hungry Hearts"

Tribeca Festival coverage. Here's Joe Reid, who you know and love from the podcast...

The Adderall Diaries
We sometimes joke around about James Franco's insane output over the last five years -- he's been in WELL OVER 30 movies since 127 Hours, with a whopping 21 of them playing film festivals. That's an average of five films a year playing in some festival or another.

For a lesser-known actor, this kind of heavy indie output might be a better idea. Throw yourself into as many projects as possible, increasing your odds that one of them will hit. Franco's already established, though. He's had his hits. What starring in so many festival indies does for him it's the opposite: it ups his odds that he'll end up in at least a few total stinkers, every year. It's gotten to the point where Franco's presence in an indie feels like the promise of disappointment.

New Franco and new Adam Driver after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr092015

Every Thing Will Be Fine. Plus: German Oscar Contenders

Team Experience is adding two new members this week. Please welcome Sebastian! - Editor

Sebastian here, with my first dispatch from the outskirts of Germany, where I spend my days watching movies and occasionally writing about them. You might have seen my post about the unique ways Birdman deals with suicide and depressionBorn in 1982, I’ve lived in Germany all my life. Currently residing in Trier (birthplace of Karl Marx; not affiliated with Lars von), I’ve dabbled in various pursuits ranging from photography to education, but movies remain my biggest passion, which is why I was thrilled when Nathaniel asked me to contribute to The Film Experience.

Let’s start out with a few thoughts on Wim Wenders’ latest dramatic effort, and a brief look ahead at some of the films aspiring to be submitted as Germany’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film this year.

With his Oscar-nominated documentary The Salt of the Earth still in theaters in the US, Germany has already seen the release of Wim Wenders’ follow-up picture, Every Thing Will Be Fine, which I saw here last week. [More...]

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Saturday
Jan312015

Sundance: Jonah Hill Tries To Pry the "True Story" Out of James Franco

Michael C. here at Sundance

Most of the buzz around Rupert Goold's True Story is  going to focus on comedic compadres James Franco and Jonah Hill facing off in a pair of hefty dramatic roles. The fact that they are the biggest names attached means they are probably going to take the heat for the fact that the film comes up short of its potential, but I'm inclined to pin the blame on the screenplay. The stars came to play, but they can only go so far with a material that never digs deep enough into these characters to make their battle of wits jolt to life.

Once you get past the novelty factor, the casting of Franco and Hill reflects back on their familiar personas in interesting ways. Franco, an actor who is priceless in the right role and lost at sea in the wrong one, is used well in a role that capitalizes on his enigmatic quality. Like the public that can't quite pin down the real Franco, Hill's Michael Finkel spends the film trying to get a read on Franco's Christian Longo, a man accused of killing his wife and three children with no apparent motive. Soon after the bodies of his wife and one his daughters are discovered dumped in a river after being stuffed into suitcases, Longo is picked up in Mexico using Finkel's name as an alias. When Finkel confronts him about the identity theft he sees the potential for a great story but whenever he gets close to the truth Longo shuts down and clams up... 

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Thursday
Jan292015

Mom, James Franco & Jack Black Are Confused About Their Sexuality Again!

This article was originally published in a slightly shorter version in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Nathaniel reporting from Sundance. One of the most interesting trends of this year's Sundance Film Festival is confrontational stories about people being pushed out of or willfully stepping away from their sexual comfort zones. The Diary of a Teenager Girl has earned the best reviews and the most press but let's discuss two films with more LGBT appeal.  I Am Michael, a drama about religion and homosexuality, and The D Train, a comedy about a high school reunion, both feature grown men whose lives spiral out of control when they stray from their true selves. [More...]

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Thursday
Dec182014

The Interview Cancelled. And Other Outrages.

If you slept through the day yesterday what you missed is that Sony pulled the Christmas day release of the comedy The Interview (starring Seth Rogen & James Franco) after major theatrical chains refused to show it after mass murder threats on movie theaters showing it. Naturally the outrage machine revved up with infinite "the terrorists have won" responses (from both liberals and hard righters), snarky tweets, and lots of 'what would happen if' warnings and truly unfortunate comparisons.

Response to the removal of the movie registers strongly for future unearned martyrdom / canonization probability which is more annoying than it is terrifying. [More...]

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Sunday
Dec072014

The Not Grammys Experience

John Waters, Grammy Nominee !This isn't The Music Experience but we should glance toward the Grammy nominees. Among the "record" and "song" of the year categories, which are kind of like the actress and actor to "album of the year"'s best picture --it's a tortured analogy, just go with it --  my votes would go to... no, I can't do it. No preferences. I like most of them but, frankly, they all remind me of other better songs especially "Chandelier" which is like "Umbrella: The Sequel" and "Fancy" which is like a weaker and more annoying Stefani track. Plus I thought "All About the Bass" was a two-for-one Novelty Song download deal with Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" -- I had no idea it was respectable music! What would the Best Picture equivalent be at the Oscars?  I can't even imagine... 

But, again, not a music guy. Outside of movie music as an extension of a my cinephilia and musical theater as an extension of my inner soul (Proud Show Queen and I don't care who knows it... Haters gonna hate hate hate. Shake it off!) I don't think about music that much except to think "What should i put on my gym playlist to help motivate the exercize that I'm not going to do no matter how great the playlist is?!?"

Actors or Directors among the Grammy-nominated this year

  • James Franco (Spoken Word nominee for "Actors Anonymous")
    I think it's worth noting that Franco has yet to win a major prize beyond a Golden Globe but he has now been nominated for the Oscar, the Emmy, and the Grammy Clearly has his sights set on a Tony at some point, too.  
  • Cheyenne Jackson (Principal Soloist for San Francisco Symphony's version of "West Side Story" nominated for Musical Theater Album)_
  • Neil Patrick Harris (Principal Soloist for "Hedwig" revival nominated for Musical Theater Album)
  • John Waters (Spoken Word nominee for "Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America")

MOVIE RELATED CATEGORIES which are always a curious mix of Oscar years given differing eligiblity periods are after the jump...

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Thursday
Nov132014

Stockholm Film Festival: The Franco and the Faulkner

Glenn has been attending the 25th Stockholm Film Festival as a member of the FIPRESCI jury. Today he looks at James Franco's latest creative endeavour, 'The Sound and the Fury'.

James Franco’s latest isn’t a part of the films I was sent to Sweden to judge, but in my apparent need to one day become the pre-eminent expert on the 36-year-old’s career, I decided to find time for The Sound and the Fury. His second Faulkner adaptation after last year’s As I Lay Dying shows that Franco is improving as a director when it comes to the creation of coherent and engaging cinematic worlds, but while somebody like the equally fast-moving Xavier Dolan is able to take his inspirations and weave them throughout his own auteurial style, Franco’s films still feel like he’s merely copying what he has seen elsewhere without putting his own stamp on it.

For instance, his misguided debut film about the murder of Sal Mineo, titled simply Sal, was Gus Van Sant lite to say nothing of My Own Private River, while last year’s Child of God was incredibly indebted to Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone. Faulkner’s novel, from what I gather, isn’t the easiest to make work on screen and Franco with his editor Ian Olds have chosen an elliptical form that layers flashbacks upon memories within sun-drenched images of nature and human innocence to symbolize how precious this life is. It’s style is representative of the source material’s structure, but it comes off visually as derivative of other films, predominantly The Tree of Life and it’s swirling, time-skipping narrative.

For those unfamiliar, The Sound and the Fury tells the story of the Compson family, a formerly rich and powerful Mississippi dynasty who are devoured by misfortune and resentment. Divided into three chapters (the book’s fourth chapter is integrated throughout), each devoted to one of the family’s three brothers: Benjy (Franco, clearly having never seen Tropic Thunder), Quentin (newcomer Jason Loeb, anchoring the film’s strongest segment) and Jason (a slimy, cowardly Scott Haze, much improved over his similarly hot-tempered role in Franco’s Child of God). It was wise of Franco to not indulge in a lavish adaptation, keeping the ensemble low-key (he does, however, find time for cameos by Seth Rogen and Danny McBride – most unexpected Pineapple Express reunion ever!). Yet at the same time his devotion to the novel means more interesting characters don’t get the attention they deserve.

Ahna O’Reilly as scandalous sister Caddy, Joey King as her deserted child, and Loretta Devine as the long-serving family maid are all impressive – Devine especially gets one killer showdown with Haze that begs for a director to capitalize better on her intense face. Despite their stories feeling redacted with large blank holes of history left untouched, they are the more emotionally and dramatically complex characters. Perhaps a narrative shift to these unsung female characters is the brave direction Franco needed to allow his film to truly separate itself from both the novel and similarly-themed films. The film looks handsomely made, the period details appearing nicely deteriorated, but in terms of impact I was left wanting. The Sound and the Fury is a step in the right direction for Franco the director, but it still doesn’t quite suggest he’s on the verge of something truly great. Yet, at least.