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Entries in James Franco (32)

Wednesday
Jul272011

Toronto & Venice Lineups: Full of Contenders & Sleepers

Robert here (of Distant Relatives) with some thoughts on the lineups for the Toronto and Venice International Film Festivals which were announced Wednesday morning. And Oh Canada (and Viva Italia!) are they impressive.

Let's begin with Venice since it's up first.

 

VENICE
First up, the many films that will be vying for awards and spots on prestigious top 10 lists at the end of the year. I mention them first because while there's much to anticipate about them all, there's not too much left to say. They've staked their claim and now we must wait for word to start rolling in. So we can see if Roman Polanski's late career semi-resurgence can continue with the impressive cast of Carnage, or whether Steven Soderberg's Contagion can live up to that buzzy trailer. Meanwhile David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method sets out to prove that just because he doesn't make movies with gynelogical tools that look like alien lifeforms anymore, he's still a master of psychosexual pathos. George Clooney's The Ides of March will try to be more than Primary Colors redux and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (from Let the Right One In's Tomas Alfredson) may finally get Gary Oldman some recognition in the form of little statues. And of course Madonna reinvents herself yet again, this time as feature film director with W.E.

Meanwhile I feel like the lineup has reminded me of how many films have fallen under the radar so far this year. Did you know Jonathan Demme has made a post-Katrina documentary entitled I'm Carolyn Parker? Underachiever James Franco has found time to direct a film about Sal Mineo called Sal. Todd Solondz is back at it with the romance Dark Horse, which I'm sure will be more fun for the whole family. Further representing the ladies are Marry Harron who jumps into the vampire fray with The Moth Diaries, Andrea Arnold who gives us a new version of Wuthering Heights, and Marjane Satrapi of Persepolis fame who, with co-director Vincent Paronnaud presents her sophomore effort Chicken With Plums.

If that weren't enough there's Shame, Steve McQueen's follow up to 2008's Hunger which pairs Michael Fassbender with Cary Mulligan. If you liked 2007's sweetly sad The Band's Visit, director Eran Kolirin presents The Exchange. And if you liked last years not-so-sweetly sad Dogtooth, Giorgios Lanthimos is back with Alps. Plus new films from Philippe Garrel, Abel Ferrera, William Friedkin and more. Exhausting. The full list is available for your perusal at The Guardian.

 

TORONTO
Now on to TIFF, the official unofficial start of award season. Along with some films from Venice that will be here too (The Ides of March, The Dangerous Method, W.E.), we'll get our first look at "Sad Clooney" in Alexander Payne's The Descendants, "Angry Woody" in Oren Moverman's Rampart, and "Mathy Brad" in Bennett Miller's Moneyball. Rodrigo Garcia's Albert Nobbs rings the bell on the Glenn Close/Meryl Streep steel cage Oscar match we're all looking forward to and/or feeling conflicted about. Meanwhile Francis Ford Coppola continues the "we hope this one will be his big comeback" era of his career with Twixt.

Of course, Toronto could be comeback central. Fernando Meirelles is premeiring 360 in an attempt to put Blindness out of sight. Lasse Hallstrom is back (actually I can't remember if he went anywhere or if we all stopped paying attention). Anyway if he has his way the title Salmon Fishing in the Yemen will be on all of our lips. Also did you know that Roland Emmerich has apparently grown tired of destroying the world and made a film about Shakespeare called Anonymous... seriously. And his subtler and more stylish French counterpart Luc Besson has maybe put thrillers on hold for The Lady.

The list seemingly never ends, but I must. So I'll finish off with two films you might be anticipating if you enjoyed 2004's My Summer of Love and 2007's Away From Her. Pawel Pawlikoski is back with The Woman in the Fifth and Sarah Polley returns to the director's chair for Take This Waltz. As usual there's still plenty more and The Guardian has that list too.

Once your head has stopped spinning with the promise of a busy end of the year sound off. Which of these are you looking most forward to? Which are you having trouble getting worked up for?

Tuesday
Jun212011

But soft! What link through yonder blogpost breaks?

Just Jared it's official: Aishwarya Rai, will finally pass her gorgeous genes on. She and star hubbt Abhishek Bachchan are expecting their first child.
I Need My Fix
Ian McShane joins the cast of Snow White and the Hunstmen as the leader of the dwarves. Unless they've TOTALLY changed the story, I'm confused. Isn't he contractually obligated to only play evil characters?
Jewish Journal
talks to James Franco about his new film The Broken Tower in which he plays gay poet Hart Crane. Good interview.
The Wrap interviews John Slattery on his fascinating Mad Men character Roger Sterling. Can he finally win the Emmy this year?
La Daily Musto [NSFW] claims these are Burt Lancaster nudes unveiled but it's hard to trust any nude photos in the age of photoshop.
Playbill Angela Bassett coming to Broadway with Samuel L Jackson for Mountaintop.

Booth & Steinfeld (maybe they're going for a brother/sister vibe this time?)Finally... In case you haven't heard it's contractual by law that every generation get their own Romeo and Juliet. Or thereabouts. There was kind of a big gap between Franco Zeffirelli's (1968) and Baz Luhrmann's (1996) but it's basically a perennial. Perhaps because it's Shakespeare it's never a grotesque matter of 'rebooting' so much as "hey, we haven't done that one in a while!"

Variety reports that we have our new Romeo and Juliet and it's 19 year old British actor Douglas Booth and 15 year-old Hailee Steinfeld for the new version, scripted by Julian Fellowes. If you ask me they're never going to be able to top Baz's psychovisual poetry or the doubleplusgood acting of Leo + Claire but here's a bright note: Holly Hunter as Nurse!!!

Sunday
Jun052011

James Franco ♥ Brad Renfro

Whose name would you carve into your arm?

I ask because James Franco carved Brad Renfro's into his... at least photographically. (Is it real? You tell us the next time you see James Franco naked.) This carving was part of the latest issue of The Thing, a mysterious quarterly periodical that comes in the shape of a "useful" object.


I'm not sure how useful a small mirror with "Brad Forever" scrawled in lipstick by Franco's own hand is, but it was fun to open and who am I to judge obsessive actorly devotions?  I have yet to carve an actresses name onto my body but never say never...

<--- I'm pretending that this photo to your left is the exact moment when Franco actually wrote on my copy.

This is only the freshest example that Franco is basically the Lady Gaga of movies: always throwing his eccentric persona at you in ways you're not expecting, even though you're expecting personal eccentricities.

Between this and that very public My Own Private Idaho obsession, we're realizing that James Franco is not an actressexual at all (our kind of people) but the other kind: an actor who obsesses over other male actors.

Or maybe he just really loves The Client (1994) and we just don't know about his Susan Sarandon fetish yet?

What do you suppose his favorite Brad Renfro movie is: Bully? The Client? Apt Pupil?

What's yours?

 

Wednesday
May112011

Sal (Mineo) & Val (Lauren)

You may have heard the news earlier today that James Franco, Man of One Thousand Projects (half of which we assume will never see the light of day), has found the actor for his Sal Mineo biopic and it's Val Lauren. A lot of people were saying "who?" 'round the net but I'm here to tell you that he's a real talent, not just a lucky "unknown".

Sal Mineo and Val Lauren who may play him in a biopic

I'm not sure how old Lauren is -- IMDb doesn't offer up much info -- and the picture above is three years old (I wanted them both in hats. Sue me). Sal Mineo was most famous in his early 20s and was murdered at only 37 years of age and for all we know Franco's vision might have to do with the later years of Mineo's life. But fine acting is the most crucial element of biopic success anyway and acting chops have very little to do with age. Starpower is the other necessary Biopic element. By starpower I don't mean "Famous Person" but screen presence, the ability to hold a camera in an iron grip. If you don't have it and you're playing someone with it the disconnect is great. 

I have only ever seen Val Lauren in one picture, back in 2008, but he had it.

The film was called True Love, a contemporary ensemble romantic drama that, as far as I know, was never released.  I thought that he was mesmerizing. At the time I wrote.

Its title make it sound just stiflingly clichéd. But it isn't and it works. The characters were compellingly flawed and in not immediately recognizable ways, either. Best in show is Val Lauren who plays an unceasingly aggressive self-made man. If this film gets distribution I expect it'll do major things for his heretofore minor career (lot of TV guest spots and the like).

I was wondering when he'd blow up but he never did. Maybe now?

Here's the trailer to True Love. He's the one you see wearing the cute hats, the one you hear monologuing about Disney, and the one you glimpse thrusting in a sex scene and smashing up defenseless cars.

 

Tuesday
Mar222011

Post-Crawford, Post-Host, Post-Cotillard

Madame LeFigaro [in French] an article about how many French stars are showing up in English language movies, the Post-Cotillard wave (though this has been going on for decades).
NY Times no word on Mad Men Season 5 and why.
Shiantology Shia Labeouf on the set of John Hillcoat's depression era drama The Wettest Country. Lots of stars in this one actually but I guess they weren't on the call sheet this day?
Kenneth in the (212)
Winslet, Wood, Winningham (and more) at the Mildred Pierce premiere.
<---Stirred Straight Up... has a collection of amusing, curious, vivid quotes about Joan Crawford from other actresses. (God, I should've thought to do some sort of Joan celebration before the revisioning of Mildred Pierce came out). This one from notsilent icon Louise Brooks is fascinating:

To me, Joan Crawford's screen portrayals are all one: a series of transparencies through which she projects her daydream –- herself –- a wonderful abused kid. On the screen, every ladylike effort is stretched by the memory of self-abasement; the salt of every tear is the salt of self-pity.

 

Geekiness
Retro Movie Review has a flash animated showdown about Ken Russell's The Devils. Although the wrong critic wins here because The Devils is brilliant.
My New Plaid Pants is hosting a very busy "Special People Day" TODAY in honor of Welcome to the Dollhouse's 15th anniversary.
Mister Hipp has a hilarious Admiral Ackbar illustration
The Playlist The low budget 1990 film version of Captain America is going to be available for mass consumption soon.

Versus
have you been reading about this online bitch-fight James Franco vs. Bruce Vilanch about the Oscar night performance failure? Vilanch bitches that Franco was not available until Thursday and wasn't committed enough and Franco basically implies that Vilanche's jokes aren't funny -- and even disses Bette Midler in the process (uncalled for. After this and his dissing of The Social Network I'm starting to lose faith that Mr. Franco knows what he's talking about.). Gold Derby weirdly sides with Franco stating that there's no reason he needed to be in town longer than he was  (!!! say what now? a live multi million dollar production and it's OK that he's not in town until three days prior?) but if you ask me everyone is at fault, Vilanch because the jokes aren't particularly strong but especially Franco since everyone and their Aunt Martha understands how difficult the Oscar hosting gig is. If you have 7,001 things going on maybe you shouldn't commit to doing a 7,002nd half assed and for a big stack of money? But maybe that's because I share this flaw (the overbooking not the big stacks of money). But when a huge one night a year historical event is counting on you and paying you, maybe it deserves your full attention? Just a thought. The Wrap says they've since made up.

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