Currently browsing the "James Franco" tag.

Quickie review: Don’t Come Back from the Moon

This quietly meditative indie sells itself on James Franco’s involvement, but truth be told, he’s only in it for a moment before he, like all the other fathers in town, disappears following the closing of the local factory. And that’s okay, since the kids who are left behind are the real story anyway. Based on a book by Dean Bakopoulos, the story centers on a group of young adults who are coming of age in a desert town on the edge of a dying lake. When their fathers abandon them, there is initially a sense of kids gone wild before they settle into the reality that they need to step up and take care of each other.

Review: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

This anthology film from the Coen Brothers will only be in a few big city theaters for a week before it begins streaming on Netflix. It’s made up of six separate stories all set in the Wild West held together by beautiful cinematography and a great cast. A couple of the stories are a lot of fun. A few, meh! All together it clocks in at 132 minutes, and there were certainly places where a little snip or two would have made it better. But if you’re a fan of the Coens, you’ll probably overlook the length and have a fine time.

Review: The Disaster Artist (and The Room)

The Disaster Artist is a gift this holiday season to fans of the 2003 independent film The Room, a movie so dreadful it became known as the “Citizen Kane of bad movies.” Unbeknownst to me (until recently), The Room also became a cult classic. Now that I’ve seen it, I totally get it. The Room is so bad, it’s good, especially if you watch it with a raucous crowd, plastic spoons, footballs, and printed instructions (see photos below). It’s also essential viewing for anyone hoping to fully appreciate and understand the bizarre brilliance that is The Disaster Artist, a satirical yet fact-based film that explores how the very bad movie The Room came to be made in the first place. James Franco plays Tommy Wiseau, the aspiring filmmaker with an indiscernible accent who wrote, directed, produced/financed and starred in The Room. Franco and Wiseau are like kindred spirits in the quirky Hollywood landscape, so the casting is ideal – assuming you can embrace the quirk. If not, you’ll surely miss the point.

True Story

True Story is based on, well, a true story. But I suspect the actual events were more gripping than this somewhat interesting, but often boring psychological crime drama starring James Franco as accused family killer Christian Longo and Jonah Hill as disgraced New York Times reporter Michael Finkel. For some reason, Longo took on Finkel’s identity while on the run for the gruesome murders of his wife and three young children. When he was caught, Finkel was the only one that Longo was willing to tell his story to.

The Interview

If you have a adolescent nephew, this is the perfect flick to share. It is full of dumb laughs and mostly harmless hijinks (unless you happen to be Kim Jong-un.) And it is funny. I laughed quite a bit, between cringes over silly bathroom humor. And as my teenage nephew noted at the end, “It was better than The Hobbit.” (Yep, we saw that too, and the consensus was that it was the weakest of the trilogy.) It does help that we watched The Interview at home on a nice big screen, not paying theater prices, and our expectations were pretty low to start with. But as dumb movies go, it doesn’t suck.

This Is The End

This Is The End isn’t for everybody – by a long shot. But for those who enjoy the likes of Pineapple Express, Harold & Kumar, and The Hangover… and maybe a zombie movie or two… then This Is The End is most definitely for you. It’s disturbingly comical. Absurdly funny. Satirically sickening. In other words, it’s quite good, especially for a comedy about the apocalypse. The movie stars a bunch of movie stars playing fictional versions of themselves – or at least, I hope they are fictional versions (yeah, I’m talking to you Michael Cera!). Here’s the gist:

The Iceman

The Iceman is based on the true story of a psychopath who led a double life. On the one hand, he killed people for a living for the mob. On the other hand, he had a wife and two daughters that he doted on who knew absolutely nothing about what Daddy did for a living. And he pulled it off perfectly for a couple of decades, killing well over 100 people. Michael Shannon plays Richard Kuklinski the man who came to be known as The Iceman. The nickname was based on two things: he froze many of his victims to disguise the time of death, and he was usually totally emotionless.

Oz the Great and Powerful

The consensus on Oz the Great and Powerful seems to be that it’s neither great nor powerful. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing. I actually liked it well enough for what it is – a simple, entertaining prequel to a beloved classic. Don’t over think it. You can’t dare to compare this fantastical flick to the original Wizard of Oz. For one, there’s very little singing (bummer). And two, there’s no Dorothy. But hey – this is the wizard’s backstory. The film is colorful and quirky – much like its star James Franco – and doesn’t take itself all that seriously. So, if you can forgive a few potholes along the Yellow Brick Road, you may actually enjoy this journey back to Oz.

Your Highness

If you’re a fan of Beavis and Butthead and the Jackass movies, then chances are you might be able to appreciate the wealth of weirdness and crude humor that is Your Highness. But for me… well… I just don’t get it.

127 Hours

James Franco rocks. Pun intended – but only sort of, ‘cause I’m gonna go out on a limb here and predict that Franco will get a best actor nomination for his role as gutsy mountain climber Aron Ralston, who cut off his arm to escape sure death in a Utah canyon in 2003. Ouch.