Tag Archives: James Franco

Review: Spring Breakers

Spring-Breakers-PosterBetween the out-of-control characters, insane parties and Harmony Korine’s highly stylized presentation, “Spring Breakers” is really something you need to see to believe.

It’s spring break, but instead of ditching the dorms for beaches and booze, Faith, Brit, Cotty and Candy (Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Vanessa Hudgens) are stuck at school. While Faith hangs out with her prayer group, Brit, Cotty and Candy opt to fix their spring break funding issue by robbing a local restaurant. Soon enough, the ladies are rolling in cash and ready to head to St. Petersburg, Florida for the time of their lives.

After a few days of living the dream, “finding themselves,” and making unforgettable memories, the party is crashed by the cops and the girls are arrested. Having spent all their hard-earned restaurant money on drugs and scooters, they’re doomed to do jail time until someone posts their bail – a local drug king and self-proclaimed “BallR,” Alien (James Franco).

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Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

This summer, CGI’s been presented mainly as a gimmick – in good ways, like in Thor, in okay ways, like in Cowboys & Aliens and in nauseating ways, like in Transformers Dark of the Moon. While Rise of the Planet of the Apes is packed with digitally created apes, they are in no way comparable to the CGI planets, aliens and robots we’ve seen in the past few month; they’re as real as they can be without actually being chimps in the flesh. But, even more importantly, they’re not just pretty props used to wow the audience. They’re authentic characters with personalities, feelings and traits that will undoubtedly earn your compassion.

Will (James Franco) is a lead scientist at a facility in San Francisco, currently working on a cure for Alzheimer’s. When a test on an ape, whom the teams calls Bright Eyes, proves Will’s latest formula is a success, his boss, Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo), arranges to present the results to their wealthy investors. Problem is, Bright Eyes is having a bad day and her poor behavior chases away the investors and compels Steven to shut down the entire operation, which includes putting down all of their test subjects. When Will’s left to kill one last ape, Bright Eyes’ newborn, he just can’t bear it and takes Caesar (Andy Serkis) home to raise as his own.

Turns out, some of the formula matriculated from mother to son and not only are damaged portions of Caesar’s brain healed, but he experiences growth making him exceptionally bright. All is well for the first few years, but as Caesar grows smarter, larger and much stronger, calling a suburban neighborhood home is no longer an option and he’s sent away to a Chimpanzee sanctuary with less than ideal accommodations. Will, Steven and the sanctuary employees underestimate Caesar and before long, Caesar gets past his homesickness, embraces his new housemates and brings them up to his intelligence status.

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Review: Your Highness

Outside of a middle school classroom, sex, drugs and dicks aren’t inherently funny. In order for these subjects to actually be funny, they must be placed within a funny circumstance. Not only does Your Highness fail by attempting to tap into our juvenile sides trying to earn a laugh by throwing out one of these subjects at random, but even when it does contextualize their inclusion, it’s not particularly funny either.

Thadeous (Danny McBride) suffers from an extreme case of one-sided sibling rivalry. His older brother, Fabious (James Franco), is a mighty warrior, heir to the throne and the town golden boy. While Fabious is off on his epic quests, Thadeous lounges around getting high with his servant Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker). One day, Fabious returns from one of his missions not only victorious in battle, but with Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) on his arm, the woman he’d like to make his wife. Too bad on the day of the wedding the wicked Leezar (Justin Theroux) swoops in and kidnaps Belladonna for a dragon-spawning evil ritual.

As Fabious regroups his men to embark on a new quest, to rescue his love, his father, King Tallious (Charles Dance), decides Fabious should recruit one more, Thadeous. So the brothers, Courtney and Fabious’ Elite Knights ride off to Leezar’s tower. Along the way they battle beasts, other warriors and even themselves. They also come across Isabel (Natalie Portman), a warrior herself with a similar score to settle.

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Oscars 2011: Forget Who Should Win, This Is Who I Want To Win

With just a day left to go until the big show, I’d like to bet you’ve had enough Oscar predictions – especially considering quite a handful of the biggest honors are considered locks. Well, I offer you something a little different; not who I think will win, but who I think should win.

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Every Best Picture nominee achieves some degree of filmmaking prowess, otherwise, they wouldn’t be nominated in the first place. Rather than pick apart the elements and compare the contenders by the writing, directing acting, etc., this category comes down to something far simpler, yet something tougher to achieve – poignancy. Which of these films moved me most? Toy Story 3 left me in tears, 127 Hours with a knot in my stomach and Inception with my head spinning, but it was The King’s Speech that was overwhelmingly rousing. This is such a special film for so many reasons and those reasons will likely be rewarded in the other categories, but in terms of the Best Picture Oscar alone, my fingers are crossed for The King Speech based on its incredible ability to connect my heartstrings to those of the characters in the film and tug on them all the way through.

I’ll Be Pissed If This Wins: Inception
Inception may be endlessly interesting and responsible for countless summertime debates, but an Oscar for Best Picture? Come on. On top of that, even after all the discussions, who can say they really understand the movie through and through? It was fun while it lasted, but Inception’s infinite twists and turns aren’t enough for the film to stand the test of time as well as its contenders.

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Interview: Howl Writer-Directors Rob Epstein And Jeffrey Friedman

Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” is no easy subject to take on, especially when it comes to adapting the poem to film. Complicating matters further, writer-directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman envisioned something far beyond a standard narrative retelling; they wanted a piece with a number of different layers.

James Franco portrays Ginsberg in three elements of the film – during the first public reading of “Howl,” during an interview, and while recreating moments in Ginsberg’s life. Then there’s the animation of the poem itself as well as a star-studded depiction of the 1957 obscenity trial.

Clearly this isn’t just a film about a poem- it’s about the poem, it is the poem and it’s a biopic. Fitting all that into one 90-minute film was likely no easy task, but Epstein and Friedman certainly had a plan of action in mind when tackling the challenge. See what the duo had to say about every step of the process, from bringing the poem to life through animation to finding their Ginsberg and their courtroom players.

Epstein and Friedman also took the time to touch on their upcoming film, Lovelace. No, not the already infamous Lindsay Lohan film – a mistake I made myself – but their own production about the porn superstar turned anti-pornography activist. Check it all out in the video interview below.

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Review: Howl

Lacking an appreciation for poetry? No, I’m not talking about Shel Silverstein-type childhood favorites; I’m referring to the serious stuff, specifically, Allen Ginsberg’s work. If the answer is no, Howl certainly isn’t for you. Not that a moviegoer must like the person, the event or the subject a factual film focuses on, but Howl is so difficult to enjoy as it is that if you don’t find entertainment in slam poetry, the film is a guaranteed lost cause.

James Franco stars as Ginsberg, the author of the poem “Howl.” The poem is broken up into the three parts, the first of which Ginsberg developed using his own experiences as well as those of people he met during his younger years. In the second part, the poet introduces the reader to Moloch, a being used to represent capitalism. Part three is directed towards a man Ginsberg met during his stay at a psychiatric hospital, Carl Solomon.

Scattered through the material is a whole lot of 1950’s no-nos, profanity and sex talk. This led to the prosecution of Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Andrew Rogers), the owner of City Lights Bookstore and the man who agreed to publish “Howl.” He was arrested and charged with selling obscene material. The proceedings were highly publicized and packed with literature experts on each side, but in the end, Ginsberg won out and the judge deemed his work acceptable.

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Review: Eat Pray Love

Like Glee? Sorry, but this film’s not for you. Despite the fact that Eat Pray Love is directed by the show’s writer-director Ryan Murphy, it’s absolutely nothing like it. It’s got some fantastic music selection, ones that would be nice to hear the William McKinley High School kids revamp, but other than that, Eat Pray Love is exactly the opposite, dreary, no fun and unmemorable. Eat, pray, love? More like eat, pray, snooze.

Julia Roberts stars as Liz, a woman whose life changes after meeting a medicine man named Ketut (Hadi Subiyanto) who predicts she’ll have two marriages, one short and one long. This forces her to recognize the fact that she may very well be in the midst of the short one and ultimately compels her to cut her husband (Billy Crudup) loose. From there she lands in the arms of a young actor (James Franco) and when that doesn’t pan out, she opts to screw it all and go on a yearlong abroad adventure during which she’ll eat, pray and love.

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