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Entries in James Franco (48)

Wednesday
Apr272016

New Actor Obsession: Dominic Rains

Confession: I normally remember actresses names with their faces straightaway even if they've only had a bit role that impressed me. Sometimes actors take a few roles to reel me in as if I'm face blind. And so it was at Tribeca where Dominic Rains took the Best Actor prize for his strong sympathetic work as Osman, an Afghani journalist transplanted to rural California in Ian Old's The Fixer (2016). All throughout the picture I was like "who is this guy?" like I'd never seen him before only to discover thereafter that I'd already seen him AND loved him in two other movies. In my defense the Iranian-American actor, born in Tehran and raised in Texas, looks different in each of his key roles. But still! I'd never let this talent slip by me with an actress no matter what they did with their hair and costumes.

Rains was the mohawked punk rocker in the little-seen but high-energy Taqwacores (2010) and the sleazy drug-addled pimp in the stunning Iranian vampire picture A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014).

More after the jump...

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Monday
Apr252016

Beauty vs Beast: All Their Jazz

It's Monday and this is Jason from MNPP writing at you, so it must be time for another round of "Beauty vs Beast" -- this week's duo are each individually and together beautiful and beastly all at once, and I don't know which their prouder of, honestly. A little of this, a little of that, some razzle dazzle and a lotta sheba shimmy shake. Indeed we speak of that pair of murderin' funny honeys Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta Jones) & Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger) in Rob Marshall's 2002 Oscar winner Chicago. Today is Renée's 47th birthday and this we do in celebration of her. Now make like Lipschitz and choose.

PREVIOUSLY Last week we took a little ride on the Pineapple Express and y'all decided it was James Franco's Saul that two-thirds of you decided you wanted bringing up your caboose. Seth Rogen had his defenders though -- taking up his cause in the comments forever1267 had this to say:

"Big laugh. Big personality. Big Dorkiness. Big Chest hair. Seth Rogen is my secret crush boyfriend."

Thursday
Apr212016

The Little Twink That Could

Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Jason on King Cobra.

Film festivals make for weird bedfellows, and so it was settling in to see King Cobra - the new true crime flick detailing the rise of gay porn star Brent Corrigan and his sordid side-wind through murder - at 9am on a Sunday morning. I literally passed people dressed up for church as I went to the movie theater. Now I could make the case that I was also set for a different sort of worship, getting on one's knees and what not, but that'd be cheap, and we wouldn't want to be cheap. (No, never.)

Certainly not while talking about a film so hilariously devoted to luxurious cheapness. Think back on the film and I bet your mind will be less flooded with memories of oiled pecs than it will be by leather couches abandoned across stretches of beige suburban carpets, shades drawn, piles of video games seemingly stacked in every corner.

Anyway I'm as shocked and surprised as any of you that King Cobra is killer. Funny, sexy, and bottomlessly absurd, a wall-fly's view of the ass-smacks of the perfectly self-involved, with solid to straight great performances all around. Garrett Clayton is the lube that sticks the film together and he slides it straight into third, juggling every ball(s) the movie can throw at him. And Christian Slater is especially lovely as the lonely and aged-out home-bound pornographer inviting the world's twinks into his living-room and falling in love with every last one - his romantic weariness in a lesser film would read only as lecherous, but Cobra wants to walk the line, and it magically manages to. 

Indeed the best thing about the film is its refusal to demonize sex - I was worried as it plowed further along into its darker places it would go where all these stories inevitably exhaustingly go, getting preachy and conservative and making us feel bad for the desires that half an hour earlier it was gleefully exploiting. I mean yes its a story about young people slipping into the sex industry and yadda yadda first-degree murder, but its characters also find strength and self-actualization and even love through their bruised but beautiful sexuality. You can take this one to the spank bank - it's ribbed for all of our pleasures.

Grade: B+

Monday
Apr182016

Beauty vs Beast: BFFF (Best Franco Friends Forever)

Jason from MNPP here, reporting for "Beauty vs Beast" duty from the middle of the Tribeca Film Festival -- I mean that literally; I am in between screenings right this very minute. (Sidenote: and since I'm not on my usual computer and don't have access to Photoshop, this week's edition is more lo-fi than usual, but we'll make due.) Anyway you know who else is here with me at the festival? James Franco. James Franco is everywhere, in every movie.

Okay okay maybe he's just in two movies - The Fixer and King Cobra - but on top of those I just finished watching 11.22.63 the other day plus it's his birthday on Tuesday, so he certainly feels omnipresent in my life at the moment. So for this week's competition let's look back at one of his finest moments -- David Gordon Green's 4-20-Perfect-10 Pineapple Express, opposite the Bacall to his Don't-Bogart-That-J Mr. Seth Rogen...

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...

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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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