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Entries in James Franco (38)

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.

Monday
Nov102014

LGBT News Roundup

Hello all, Manuel here with a number of LGBT-related news to kick off your Monday.

- Let’s start with the pretty. Love these images of the Looking boys for their OUT100 spread. The magazine named the HBO series TV show of the year. HBO's been busy hosting their Artists Series where they invited some select lucky few to visit the set, keeping social media abreast of what the boys are up to. Check it out:  #LookingForPatrick #LookingForAgustin #LookingForDom

Oh and look, a teaser trailer for season 2!

Speaking of HBO (1), they’re going ahead on the provocatively titled series Bros Before Hos which centers on a queer black man and well, his brothers. The show is from the team behind Red Tails and, more recently, Dear White People. The show, they state, aims to "reflect the growing diversity of the American experience." You can check out a rough cut of the pitch of the show at the link.

Speaking of HBO (2), did anyone catch Olive Kitteridge last week with the wonderful Frances McDormand? I’ll have to wait a bit since I don’t have that premium channel, but you can catch up with out director Lisa Cholodenko over at Interview in their newest podcast.

- Kiss Me, Kill Me - an Alfred Hitchcock/Agatha Christie-style "Who-done-it" set in a little town called West Hollywood - successfully fulfilled its Kickstarter campaign this past week. This should be great news for those of us who want more Gale Harold, Tom Lenk & RuPaul’s Drag Race's Willam in our lives.

- In more horrific news, screenings of Switzerland’s official submission for the Best Foreign Language Film, The Circle in Kiev’s Cinema Zhovten theater ended in flames after the theater was set on fire. Proof that while we've come a long way, there's plenty more work to be done.

- And lastly, in case you missed it, here's the first official photo of Zachary Quinto and James Franco as a gay couple in Michael. I say "official" because if you've been following those two on Instagram, they've been giving us plenty of behind-the-scenes looks at the film adaptation of the New York Times Magazine article, “My Ex-Gay Best Friend.” Here's how the couple they portray are described in the piece:

“Many young gay men looked up to [Michael]. He and his boyfriend at the time, Ben, who also worked at the magazine [XY], made a handsome pair — but their appeal went deeper. On weekends we would go to raves together, and I would watch as gay boys gravitated toward the couple. Michael and Ben seemed unburdened (by shame, by self-doubt) and unapologetically pursued what the writer Paul Monette called the uniquely gay experience of “flagrant joy.” But unlike some of our friends who rode the flagrant joy train all the way to rehab, Michael and Ben rarely seemed out of control. There was a balance — a wisdom — to their quest for intense, authentic experience. Together they seemed to have figured out how to be young, gay and happy.”

Do Franco & Quinto fit the bill? Are you counting the days until we see Patrick and Dom again? Are you as excited that even as 2014 is shaping up to be a strong and diverse year for LGBT cinema (what with Pride, The Skeleton Twins, 52 Tuesdays, The Normal Heart, Love is Strange, The Circle, Yves Saint-Laurent, and Lilting among others) we already have three fascinating LGBT projects (Michael, Carol, and Freeheld) to look forward to in 2015?

Friday
Oct102014

Linkman

Empire The London Film Festival has commenced with Benedict Cumberbatch opening the festivities
Kenneth in the (212) Harrison Ford in 1978 
Logolog This one is for the linguistics and trivia nerds: Last week's box office top ten featured the first ever "pangram" -- I didn't know what that was but the article explains it
Film School Rejects will "Vs" movies be the next franchise trend? God help us all 


Guardian claims that The Imitation Game might be the queerest film for the mainstream in ages. I don't want to do that math because, if so, how depressing because it's not all that queer
/Film a Labyrinth sequel in development?
Pajiba Jennifer Garner talks about Ben Affleck's penis on the Ellen show. Hold me. Why, Jennifer, why?
Esquire Gone Girl as the story of Ben Affleck's career. Undeniable connections!
Vulture theorizes on how all the seasons of American Horror Story could be connected. I guess they mean, besides the famous actors?
/Film First images of Margot Robbie and Will Smith in Focus. Hey, do you remember when there was a movie with that title with William H Macy and Laura Dern? Anyone?
Guardian So, you guys, it turns out that that Effie Gray movie starring Emma Thompson and Dakota Fanning does actually exist and its now playing in the UK 
HitFix Sean Durkin of Martha Marcy May Marlene fame will direct a film version of Little House on the Prairie. Bizarre. 

Casting News
The Playlist Léa Seydoux is your next femme fatale Bond girl. YAS! Great choice, 007 team
Variety Gabriel Luna joins Ellen Page in Freeheld
The Playlist Jennifer Jason Leigh takes the largest (only?) female role in Quentin Tarantino's Hateful Eight

Retweet
I take it you've heard about American Crime Story, a new Ryan Murphy series that will take on true uh... American crime stories.

 

 

True crime instead of the freaky supernatural fiction crime that American Horror Story traffics in, right? I had to have my say on Twitter, you know? Hee

Weekend Watch

 

James Franco's "Making a Scene" a comic mash-up series, fuses Beetlejuice and Batman together. What would Michael Keaton say? Probably "who cares" given his recent comments about the Batman franchise post him.

While we're on the topic of Batman, The LEGO Movie is going to have a solo Batman sequel in 2017. Exactly when do we approach maximum saturation of all things Batman? You'd think it would have been awhile ago. I worry for the the 2020s

Finally
For Towleroad, I wrote up a piece on films of LGBT interest in the big Foreign Film lineup with their trailers and such. Check it out. I'm dying to see Switzerland's The Circle. And I didn't realize until researching this piece that Concrete Night is made by a writer/director pair who are famous lesbians in Finland. How about that?

Stay tuned for more coverage on this category and of course all the others too, right here. Interviews and events are already starting off blog and soon we'll start sharing them. Let's consider Monday/Tuesday the official grand opening of this new awards season here at TFE.

Sunday
Aug102014

Linkages

Flavorwire Christina Hendricks tries to function in a modern office
Hollywood.com Why Anna Kendrick would make an awesome girlfriend 
Skullflake Studios "maybe superheroes aren't for girls, mom"
/Film puts together a comprehensive look of superhero films coming in next few years. So many
VF Helen Mirren twerking 
Towleroad first look at James Franco as an ex-gay activist in new Gus Van Sant picture 

 

Vulture Groot should remake a bunch of movies 
Empire Universal bought up the rights to Anne Rice's entire Vampire Chronicles. I swear to god if they dont just deal with the sexuality this time, what will be the point? We've already had True Blood. You can't keep homogenizing everything to make it risk-averse
Coming Soon Michael Fassbender seems to like this Justin Kurzel person a lot. His MacBeth director is also guiding him in the film adaptation of the video game Assassin's Creed
Awards Daily Kristen Stewart in Camp X-Ray trailer. This actress is really trying to change perceptions of herself this year. 
Pajiba the cast of HBO's Westworld remake all announced. I'm sad that Yul Brynner cannot be resurrected. I love me some Yul Brynner
Variety Amazon fighting with Disney over DVD/Blu-Ray sales
Variety Lucy is a huge hit in France. No surprise really since Luc Besson directs and France is basically adopting Scarlett Johansson now that she's soon to birth a French baby. 
LA Times Jennifer Lee, one of the directors of Frozen (I met her this season and she was very sweet) will write the screenplay for the adaptation of the YA novel A Wrinkle in Time. I swear that movie has been in development for my entire lifetime 
Variety Lizzy Caplan will play Joseph Gordon Levitt's love interest in an untitled Christmas movie from his 50/50 director

Oh and I forgot to post this great UK poster for Maps to the Stars.

I love quad posters but we only get the vertical ones here in the US. I'm getting so desperate to see this movie. 

Tweet of the Week!
Satiric truth. Tell it

 

 

 

Monday
Jun232014

Alan Cumming & James Franco @ Broadway Bares

I'm getting a late start this morning after the midnight show of Broadway Bares. For those who aren't aware it's a one night only charity event each year in Manhattan where Broadway dancers striptease en masse in huge often silly choreographed themed spectacle numbers. This year's theme was "Rock Hard" so there was rock heavy versions of pop songs as well as classic rock numbers. Throughout the night there are little interlude skits with celebrity guest stars. In this case they were all trying to get past a doorwoman when their names weren't on the list. Alan Cumming, adorable with his hair in zulu knots, sailed right in with two boytoys in his hands whose names he kept getting comically mixed up. So he had to take matters (literally) into his hand to figure out who was who. But Broadway's Rocky (Andy Karl) didn't have it as easy.

-But you let Alan Cumming in!"
-Win a Tony and we'll talk"

The final interlude skit was James Franco. He bragged to the doorwoman 'But I take shirtless selfies. I have 2 million followers.' Enter Bianca Del Rio (to thunderous non-stop applause) who proceeded to insult him. The mini-skit ended with Bianca rubber-gloving her hand...

You can guess what happened next [NSFW]

Click to read more ...

Friday
May022014

Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Linkdown

Art of the Title has an amazing 3-part retrospective / interview with title designer Pablo Ferro. His work includes: Bullitt, Married to the Mob, Dr Strangelove, Beetlejuice, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and so many other greats
The New Yorker "why Mean Girls is a classic" even esteemed publications got into the 10th anniversary frenzy. Good piece from Richard Brody
The Dissolve Joaquin Phoenix will headline the next Woody Allen film, the one after Magic in the Moonlight. The prolific auteur isn't slowing down his one-a-year pac. Phoenix isn't slowing down either; remember how just a few short years ago, people thought Phoenix's career was over? The joke was on us.) 

 

Vulture Bilge Ebiri sticks his neck out for "Why Adam Sandler Matters"
Paper Mag 5 Most Swintessential Moments from Tilda Swinton's career. Love this though none are her actual acting & filmography which is tops. 
Playbill Idina Menzel & Julie Andrews talk FrozenWicked and The Sound of Music Live! on "Watch What Happens Live". Julie is very magnanimous about Carrie Underwood but I love the hint of 'i'm aware you all think i'm just being diplomatic' utter vagueness of "acting is acting is acting". Ha!

I thought she was great. Listen, she made it her own. But listen: acting is acting is acting."

The Wire pontificates on Emma Stone's career now that redundant superhero movie is in theaters. Shouldn't her career be so much more by now?
Cosmopolitan interviews Amy Schumer on 'sneaky feminism,' Parker Posey, plastic surgery and Judd Apatow's Trainwreck
Pajiba this is how you assemble a damn cast. On Joe Swanberg's wonderful ensembles 
AV Club is fear of TV cancellations a thing of the past? Shows with low ratings are no longer automatically doomed and fan passion counts for far more than it once did.
Gothamist wonders if James Franco is doing okay. Get out of bed! 

Today's Must Read
Cléo wonderfully provocative piece on "Samantha" in Her (now on DVD) from Angelo Muredda:

Early on, Samantha is eager to establish herself as, if not a human, then at least something more ambitious than a machine. She proudly proclaims that what makes her her is the ability to grow through her experiences. “So basically,” she says, “in every moment I’m evolving, just like you.” The latter part of that statement reads as a veiled threat to Theodore, who seems rather stalled in his moody present state as a sad man who writes other people’s love letters for a living despite being unable to sign his own divorce papers. It is a succinct expression of the film’s male smugness: that a girlfriend who begins excited about the world and her boyfriend’s witty emails is still a girlfriend who will one day leave.

 

Wednesday
Apr022014

Link of All Media

big screen
Towleroad James Franco to plan an ex-gay activist in a new Gus Van Sant film
Guardian Russell Crowe meets with the Archbishop of Canterbury for Noah. The things people will do for movie promotion, I tell you
Empire Cake, a Jennifer Aniston movie about a pain support group, lines up a huge cast of acclaimed actors including Anna Kendrick (highly in demand lately... so many new projects)
AV Club talks to former child star Haley Joel Osment who is apparently in the next Kevin Smith picture

In Contention very minor new details emerge on Meryl Streep's Ricki & the Flash (which we were just discussing)
Empire Brad Pitt is doing yet another World War II movie after that upcoming tank drama. This will be his third in a handful of years.
THR reports on casting for Monster Truck, which is described as having a "Transformers meets Gremlins vibe". Yikes. One of those is pleasurable at least
Coming Soon Toby Kebbell wins the Doctor Doom role in the upcoming Fantastic Four
/bent rumors flying that producers of the upcoming Belushi biopic are panicking about Ellen Page's coming out. Dumb. Seriously people do not care about this. They don't. They only care in a think piece on the internet kind of way which is to say it's not going to affect anyone's ticket purchase.
Pajiba and Film School Rejects both have cute articles about body-swapping yesterday (I musta missed the memo that this was a thing connected to April Fools Day?) via Face/Off and Freaky Friday and more. Sadly there's no gif for Tom Hanks in Big but I do still remember his reaction to waking up in an adult body
Forbes on why Warner Bros/DC doesn't need to do like Disney/Marvel does with its superhero universe. This article is 4 times as long as it needs to be since you get literally all of its points in the first few hundred words (but it's good to fight against common wisdom) but maybe it's actually a satire about the repetitiveness of padded franchise culture?

no screen
Slate I don't know music theory (though, as previously noted, I can play the piano) but I thought this article about Lady Gaga's enduring "Bad Romance" was interesting. 
NME Courtney Love thinks a Kurt Cobain Broadway musical is very likely to happen
/Film Yes Wicked still wants to be a movie. Spring Awakening, too. An update.

⇐ Towleroad and can I say I'm thrilled that Harvey Milk finally got a stamp. "Forever" is right, US Postal Service! The gay rights pioneer and awesome subject of not one but two Oscar-winning films (The Times of Harvey Milk and Milk from 1984 and 2008, respectively, was super deserving thanks for asking)

small screen
i09 first commercial for Extant, Halle Berry's new TV project
Variety Peabody Award winners include Scandal, Orphan Black, and House of Cards
Sorta That Guy and The Wire and The Wrap and seemingly EVERYONE else online on the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. A lot more people in the universe seemed interested in that I could have ever imagined. I've seen only 6 or 7 episodes over the years from varying seasons and thought none were anywhere better than "okay"

Today's Must Love
This one took me a split second to get but it gave me such lol'ing joy. Hat tip to Rufus Mayhem and Hayden Wright...