Tag Archives: Franco

I saw “The Interview” so you didn’t have to

29 Dec

‘Interview’ is a weak blow for democracy, says some funny things about business


Well, so “The Interview” happened, and as a result (of the big guys stepping out) 300 or so indie and small-chain theaters will now make all the bling off that notorious Sony thing – a dirty bomb since the day it was greenlit by the studio. Yeah sure, there was the hack and the threat, but “The Interview,” which had gonzo aspirations of “Borat” and “Team America: World Police,” didn’t break new ground so much as it breaking wind amid some very strong political swirls.

For those not up to speed, the now-infamous hack of Sony – allegedly by North Korea because it did not want a film depicting the assassination of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to make the rounds – put the studio on edge, beyond the Tinseltown fallout of condescending, cringeworthy emails revealed to the public in which studio execs let loose their inner thoughts on pop icons such as Adam Sandler and Angelina Jolie (“talentless”). What to do? The film was a turkey, and the liability for movie hall violence would be astronomical. That and maybe a moral dose of “let’s not get anyone killed over our movie,” so Sony let big theater chains AMC and Regal back out if they wished. For that liability reason and (hopefully) public safety reason, they did.  Continue reading

Child of God

4 Aug

<i>Child of God</i>

James Franco’s infatuation with the literati and his desire to be among the ranks continues with this adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy’s 1973 novel (his third) about a mentally handicapped malcontent who loses the family farm and evolves into something more feral and arguably evil. Best known for his Spiderman roles and Oscar-nominated turn in 127 Hours, Franco has just a small part in the film and steps behind the lens to helm the effort. It’s not the actor’s first time in the director’s chair; last year he tackled William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and he’s working on a biopic of Charles Bukowski. (Purportedly, Franco wants to attempt an adaptation of Faulkner’s seemingly unadaptable The Sound and the Fury.)

Franco himself got the literary-to-screen treatment earlier this year when a collection of his short stories about growing up in the California ’burbs was crafted into the movie Palo Alto by Gia Coppola. Franco also had a role in that film, directed and starred in The Broken Tower, a biopic about the poet Harry Crane, and also played the renowned beat poet Allen Ginsberg in Jeffery Friedman and Rob Epstein’s tepid docudrama, Howl.   Continue reading

Palo Alto

10 May

<i>Palo Alto</i>

Bored kids of privilege looking for thrills, validation and love. You’ve seen it done funny and twisted before in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and more recently driven by ennui in Sophia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, which felt like a modern day retelling of her Marie Antoinette—after all, aren’t cake and celebrity bling the same thing? So it’s fitting too that the latest entry into the teen anxiety crisis genre is the debut of Sophia’s niece, Gia Coppola, who gives a shout out to auntie, by panning over a poster of Sophia’s debut film, The Virgin Suicides hanging on the wall of one of her darlings.

The “all in the family” ties run deep. The film’s based on a collection of short stories written by James Franco, who also plays the amiable girls soccer coach Mr. B. and it stars Emma Roberts (Eric’s daughter, Julia’s niece) and Jack Kilmer (son of Val, who crops up in an outrageous cameo).

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