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Watch James Franco fail miserably with ‘Romeo and Juliet’ adaptation

- August 29th, 2014

James Franco managed to desecrate William Faulkner, and now he’s taking on William Shakespeare.

Franco unveiled his latest piece de resistance, a five minute short film based on Shakespeare’s famous and beloved play Romeo and Juliet, on VICE Friday afternoon.

The Gothic video transitions jaggedly from black and white to colour, inducing a sense of nausea and dread for whatever the rest of the video is about to show.

It’s easy to pick out his influences for the video, from Harmony Korine and Larry Clark (Kids) to Melina Matsoukas and Terry Gilliam.

It’s practically terrestrial, but even its other worldly vibe does little in making this stinking piece of preposterous pretentious poppycock anything more than that.

Franco explains in his VICE piece the themes of Romeo and Juliet are far grander than love (which isn’t necessarily wrong), and uses his view of intimacy between young lovers to examine the concept of humanity itself.

“Shakespeare takes the story of ill-fated lovers and uses it to open the box of human existence, to show us that the connections between humans are more elevated than the automatic copulation of animals or the pollination of flowers because of the poetry pricked by the emotions of intimacy,” Franco writes.

He further explains that Romeo and Juliet should be seen through modern day obstacles that couples, like Kim and Kanye he suggests, have to deal with consistently.

“Even Kim and Kanye, who seem happy and made for each other, have the looming specter of the public eye and the media putting pressure on their not-so-private lives,” he says. “If they shut themselves off from cameras and attention—if they stopped giving us salacious glimpses of their beautiful, outrageous lives and we stopped demanding those glimpses—theirs would be a very different love.”

While comparing Shakespeare’s groundbreaking story of Romeo and Juliet to the it couple of the past decade may seem sacrilegious, it’s nowhere near as rancid as the soundtrack Franco uses to instil some kind of tragic emotion in his viewers.

Crafted by Franco’s own band that he formed with NYU mates, Daddy, it almost plays as an electronic ode to Ian Curtis and Joy Division’s alternative and depressive sound from the ‘80s.

Even that good-natured attempt, however, comes off sounding just as pretentious and over the top as its visual partner.

The most fun someone could have with this video is by starting a stopwatch and seeing how long they could get through without tossing their headphones and giving up in anguish.

Good luck to the best of you.

First photo of Paul Rudd in Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’

- August 19th, 2014

Marvel has begun production on Ant-Man – the first film in its Phase Three slate of films.

The superhero film starring Paul Rudd as Scott Lang (AKA Ant-Man) will shoot in San Francisco and Atlanta. Marvel tweeted out the first official image early Tuesday.

Ant-Man will follow Avengers: Age of Ultron when it opens July 17, 2015, taking over that date from DC’s Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Michael Douglas appears as Lang’s mentor Dr. Hank Pym, with Evangeline Lilly, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, Judy Greer, John Slattery and T.I. co-starring. Corey Stoll stars as the main villain, Yellowjacket.

The film has had a bit of a tumultuous history. Previous writer-director Edgar Wright exited over script changes and was replaced by Peyton Reed – the man who brought us Yes Man and The Break-Up. Not exactly a great sign for what is presumably Marvel’s next tentpole franchise, but considering two of the guys behind Community successfully helmed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I’m game for anything.

The official plot synopsis is as follows:

“Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.”

ant-man test footage

‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ moves to March 25, 2016

- August 6th, 2014

Looks like DC has blinked after all.

Warner Bros. has decided to move up the release of their highly anticipated superhero epic, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice from May 6, 2016 to March 25, 2016 after reports surfaced that Marvel Studios have plans to release Captain America 3 the same weekend.

The studio house also confirmed the upcoming Batman movie would be released in 3D to no one’s shock.

Did DC wimp out? Possibly, but Batman v Superman is being considered the final tipping point for the franchise financially. Warner Bros. simply can’t afford to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into a sinking series.

Plus, just to hazard a guess, they’re probably not too keen on possibly losing the critical warfare to Captain America 3. Snyder has already proven to be a tricky sell with critics in past movies (Watchmen, Man of Steel), whereas Captain America has practically been unanimously approved of.

Although, one insider close to the project told The Wrap that it wasn’t a moment of weakness or insecurity about the success of the film at all.

“Not flinching – it’s a fantastic corridor for us,” he said.

If Batman v Superman is actually released on March 25, 2016 (this is the third time the date has been changed for the film), it’ll be the earliest blockbuster release since this superhero genre resurgence began, with the second Captain America film, The Winter Soldier, previously holding that spot with an April 4 release date.

Warner Bros. also released the time frame for nine unannounced projects, all relating to the DC universe.

Although there hasn’t been any indications made as to what the titles may be, we can assume one of the 2018 dates will be a Justice League film, considering previous news stories on the production cycle of the film.

 

The rest of the titles? A revival of Green Lantern is a possibility, along with the Flash and Aquaman.

Who knows, though, maybe they’ll go down the Guardians of the Galaxy route and choose an unfamiliar group of masked crusaders.

Until then, the release date wars are still on and still very lively.

Marvel 1, DC 0.

Major changes coming to Studio Ghibli

- August 3rd, 2014

Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio behind award winning films like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, may not be closing its doors, but the company will be facing some major reorganization.

Originally reported on Japanese website News Cafe, an inside source let it slip that the studio’s upcoming film When Marine Was There may be the last film to come out of the studio.

The insider added the company had been in rough shape ever since the announcement of Hayao Miyazaki’s, co-founder of the legendary studio and director behind some of the biggest films, retirement this past spring.

“From here on, it appears as though this won’t be a studio that makes new works, but instead, manages its copyrights,” the site reported, translated via Kotaku.

Kotaku’s Brian Ashcroft later confirmed the original message wasn’t translated properly, and Studio Ghibli would be facing changes within the company instead of closing its doors entirely.

It’s not the first time talk about the studio closing has surfaced, either. It was only four years ago that Miyazaki told Bleeding Cool he had thought about dissolving the studio before, Kotaku reported.

“No joke, we talked about it the other day. For example, Ghibli should be able to continue with about five staff members as a copyright management company even if we smash the studio,” Miyazaki said.  “So, Ghibli can say ‘We stop film production. Goodbye’. I do not have to be there.”

If speculation is correct about the impending downsize, the anonymous insider said financial concerns are to blame.

The cost to produce just one animated feature usually hovers around $100 million, and with Miyazaki stepping out of the picture, investors are concerned audiences won’t react to new films the same way, leading to detrimental losses for the company.

Following the news of Hayao Miyazaki’s departure, it was made clear by the company that Goro Miyazaki, Hayao’s son, would be stepping up to take on more animated features.

His upcoming television project, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, is expected to be released sometime in the new year.

‘Ghostbusters 3′ gets female leads, ‘Bridesmaids’ director

- August 2nd, 2014

Looks like Bill Murray is definitely not in the running for starring in the upcoming Ghostbusters movie.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sony Studios has approached Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) to direct the third Ghostbusters film, with sources alleging the film will focus on an all female paranormal investigation team.

While the same sources have confirmed there hasn’t been any kind of formal negotiation between Feig and the studio executives yet, Feig is currently the frontrunner for the position.

Before Feig, Christopher Miller and Paul Lord, the duo behind the successful 21 Jump Street reboot, were rumoured to take on the film.

Original Ghostbusters star Dan Aykroyd has said he’s up for taking on the series once again, while co-star Bill Murray has yet to comment on whether he’ll return or not.

The original screenplay for the upcoming reboot had to be stripped and rewritten after former castmember Harold Ramis passed on Feb. 24.

There is currently no estimated release date, nor are there any leads on which stars may be cast as the film’s leading ladies.