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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.

‘Fake’ James Franco invades TIFF

- September 10th, 2013

UPDATED

Remember how a few years ago at TIFF there was a Joaquin Phoenix imposter running around the fest tricking fans on the red carpet? Well, it seems that this year there is a ‘fake’ James Franco having a grand old time in Toronto.

Franco, who has three movies at the festival – Palo Alto, Child of God and Third Person – was in town Sunday and has since left the city, but that didn’t stop a phoney Franco from having some fun posing with fans. According to the New York Post’s page six, Palo Alto producer Vince ­Jolivette spotted the Franco doppelgänger and insisted he meet the real deal.

“Vince thought it was hysterical,” a source tells page six. “The fake James Franco was posing for photos with girls [who thought he was the real one]. He was walking around, talking to people, eating, drinking. He was the toast of the town.”

One woman posted a photo of herself posing with the fake Franco on Facebook saying she was “completely duped.”

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And it turns out the ‘fake’ Franco met the real Franco at a party for the real McCoy’s Child of God.

‘Fake’ Franco was later revealed to be actor Thomas James Murphy.

5 Cannes films you can expect at TIFF

- May 16th, 2013

With the Cannes film festival getting underway, movie buffs can start to look forward to the Toronto International Film Festival with an eye on some high-profile films debuting in the South of France that may have their North American premiere here in September.

Over the next week, we’ll see new films from the Coen brothers, James Gray, Alexander Payne, James Franco and Nicholas Winding Refen. So while it’s not rocket science, we can start to handicap some of the movies debuting at Cannes that we expect to see in Toronto this September.

Inside Llewyn Davis

I love when the Coens go full-tilt into quirky comedy territory, but their latest, a drama about a young musician (Oscar Isaac) trying to make it in New York, boasts the year’s most intriguing cast. John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, Adam Driver, Carey Mulligan and F. Murray Abraham join Isaac (Drive), with a soundtrack that includes music from T Bone Burnett, Timberlake, and Marcus Mumford.

The Coen brothers have brought many of their films to Toronto over the years – Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, No Country for Old Men – so I expect this one to play opening weekend.

Nebraska

Director Alexander Payne makes dramedies that really seem to click with Toronto audiences. He has had success bringing The Descendants and Sideways here, so this is another sure bet as he makes a run at awards season.

The film features Bruce Dern as an elderly booze hound who, after winning the lottery, must take a road trip with his estranged son (played by SNL’s Will Forte) to collect his prize. It’s black and white, but thus far Payne has proved he can do no wrong when writing stories that unflinchingly examine love and human relationships.

The Immigrant

James Gray re-teams with Joaquin Phoenix for his first film in five years. It’s a period drama that focuses on a love triangle between an Eastern European immigrant (played by Marion Cotillard) who gets involved with a nefarious New Yorker (Phoenix) and his magician brother (played by Jeremy Renner).

Gray has brought The Yards to TIFF, and Phoenix had been here many times, with last year’s The Master earning him his third Oscar nomination.

Its glitzy cast and rich storyline are a match made in heaven for TIFF’s first Friday night.

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As I Lay Dying

James Franco is showing he has a real knack for flipping between big-budget Hollywood fare (Oz the Great and Powerful) and edgy independent cinema (Spring Breakers). His directorial debut adapts William Faulkner’s 1930 stream-of-consciousness novel for the big screen. It employs 15 narrators in its quest to tell the story of how one family struggles to carry out Addie Bundren’s wish to be buried in her hometown.

Fitzgerald it ain’t.

All Is Lost

Robert Redford struggles to survive after he becomes lost at sea. The film, directed by J.C. Chandor (Margin Call), is rumoured to have no dialogue. This is the perfect blend of intriguing concept and Hollywood star power TIFF likes best.

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One film that’s making its debut at Cannes that I was hoping would be coming to TIFF is Nicholas Winding Refen’s Only God Forgives.

The director of Drive hooks up once again with Ryan Gosling in a revenge thriller set in Bangkok. It’s due out in North America this July.

For full coverage of the Cannes film festival, head over to the Toronto Sun.

As we get closer to TIFF, I’ll be posting news as it happens.

‘This is the End’ trailer a celebrity zoo

- April 5th, 2013

theend

If box office dollars were measured in celebrity cameos, then “This is the End” would set records.

The long-awaited end-of-the-world comedy, written and directed by Seth Rogen and “Superbad” pal Evan Goldberg, is getting attention thanks to a new extended trailer that features a who’s who of Hollywood – getting brutally killed in the apocalypse.

The principal cast is enough to get some butts in the theatre seats. It teams Judd Apatow proteges Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, and James Franco together with Danny McBride and “Office” star Craig Robinson.

The premise seems simple enough: The guys play themselves. They are all in Los Angeles (Baruchel looks like he’s just visiting) when the apocalypse hits during one of Franco’s celebrity-filled house parties.

The rest of the trailer sees Seth, Jay and crew trying to survive in a new world overtaken by aliens and fire.

But check out the stars in turmoil:

We see Mindy Kaling, Jason Segel, and a cocaine-fueled Michael Cera at the party; Rihanna swallowed up by a sinkhole, comic Aziz Ansari begging for his life, and Emma Watson  resorting to burglary for survival.

According to IMDB, Paul Rudd and comedian Kevin Hart are also attached to the movie, but are not in the trailer.

“This is the End” opens in theatres June 12.

Have a look at the trailer below and let me know what you think.

The film is actually based on the 2007 short film “Jay and Seth Vs. The Apocalypse”, starring Rogen and Baruchel alone in a room  together, driving  each other crazy. And it’s hilarious:

Seth Rogen uses ‘Pineapple Express 2′ to promote ‘This Is The End’

- April 1st, 2013

pineapple express

Was anyone really hoping for Pineapple Express 2? I wasn’t, but in a clever April Fools’ Day video James Franco and Seth Rogen released a prank trailer to their 2008 Judd Apatow-produced comedy.

In the ad, Danny McBride orders the stoners to assassinate Woody Harrelson (played by Jonah Hill). The clip also recycles footage from the first film and uses M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes.’

But it’s just a gimmick (a really neat one I might add) to promote Rogen and Franco’s, This Is The End.

The end-of-the-world comedy also stars Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride and Jonah Hill. The actors play themselves after Los Angeles descends into chaos.

“It’s about a bunch of actors stuck in a house after the apocalypse happens,” Rogen told me in a 2011 interview. “We will actually be playing ourselves. So I will actually be playing Seth Rogen, the actor.”

Pineapple Express was a surprise hit when it was released in 2008. After that, Rogen went on to high profile roles in The Green Hornet and Funny People. But the actor revealed to me he’s more comfortable working on smaller-scale films.

“I think if we learned anything from ‘Green Hornet’ it’s that we function better in a smaller scale world… I think creatively we are (better suited) to a world that is in the double digits and single digits than in triple digits of millions.”

While This Is The End looks funny, now I kinda hope there are plans for Pineapple Express 2 as well.