Posts tagged with “James Franco”
Come join us for a discussion of the trailers we’ve been privileged to experience over the last month or so. Are they tantalizing nuggets of the hits of tomorrow? Or harbingers of Green Hornets to come? We do not know! But we will assume that we do, because it is our way. Have YOU seen a trailer lately? Do tell. In the Comments, please—we can’t hear you from our cubicles.
Kimberly: And, we’re back! Oh how I’ve missed our talks about the movies of tomorrow…today! Let’s see what Summer 2011 has in store. Try not to cry.
Sarah: Yay! So nice to be swapping thoughts on Hollywood’s least promising offerings with you once again. This trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes is making me laugh so much! Hee! Based on the trailer, I’m assuming that at least 60% of this movie will consist of slow shots of apes staring menacingly at the camera. Why does James Franco seem so wooden and self-serious? Is it some sort of performance art? Stop staring at me, ape!
To: Sarah, Kimberly
Some thoughts on the best and worst last night!
Fashion: I thought there were some fabulous gowns on the Red Carpet. Can’t wait for Joan’s team tonight on Fashion Police!
Opening Inception Montage: Cute in the Billy Crystal tradition. People at my party laughed.
Best Actor/Best Actress Intros: Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock seemed genuine and personal toward the nominees.
Christian Bale: Recognizing and plugging Dickie in the nose bleed seats!
Actual Telecast Length: It helps to have presenters give out two awards each.
British Acceptance Speeches: They do it so well! Witness Colin Firth and Tom Hooper. Read more »
THE KING’S SPEECH (2010/IN THEATERS) Remember this? The People’s Choice from the 2008 Toronto Film Festival was Slumdog Millionaire, which went on to be the big Oscar winner in 2009. 2010’s People’s Choice is The King’s Speech, which tells the true story of King George VI (Colin Firth) and his battle to overcome a severe stutter. The movie is very solid and holds a 97% Rotten Tomatoes rating among top critics. It’s a crowd-pleaser also and can be enjoyed by the entire family, exhibiting all the best aspects of British Monarchy films—gorgeous sets, period costumes, real world details combined with strong casting. Firth is seriously impressive in the role; he is the logical Oscar winner this year, unless James Franco takes it for 127 Hours, ironically directed by Slumdog’s Danny Boyle. Firth was up last year for his incredible work in A Single Man so King’s Speech marks two in a row—thank heavens Firth is getting these great roles. Enough of Bridget Jones sequels and fluff like What a Girl Wants. Equally strong are Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother to the current reigning Queen Elizabeth, not so favorably presented in The Queen as we may recall) and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue, the real life Australian who enables the King to overcome (or at least manage) his affliction. Also lovely in small parts are Guy Pearce as Edward VIII who famously abdicated the throne to marry a thrice divorced American (Wallis Simpson—played as a horrific socialite here by Eve Best). And in a lovely touch, Derek Jacoby, who stuttered so well in I, Claudius, is cast as the Archbishop of Canterbury. King’s Speech has already won 5 British Indpendent Film Awards (Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Actor for Firth, Supporting Actor for Rush and Supporting Actress for Bonham Carter). On to the Oscars!
Grade: A Solid.
BTW: Yesterday’s Talk of the Nation on NPR featured a discussion of stuttering and some very complimentary remarks about the film from Kristin Chmela, a Speech Pathologist. I found the following most interesting:
“And the other one that I loved was how they filmed it. When he was stuttering and they put the camera as if the viewer of the movie was the person stuttering so that you could watch the reactions of the people listening, that look in their eye, the shift in their body language. That is something I think all stutterers recognize. And I thought that was extremely powerful to get a sense of what that might feel like when you’re watching people watching you, and you cannot speak.”
To hear the rest of the show, follow the link.
Sarah: So Kimberly, what do we make of yesterday’s announcement that Anne Hathaway and James Franco will be hosting the Oscars this February? I think it’s weird. Do you think they’re just calling everyone in Hollywood until someone says yes, or what? I guess Hathaway sang a song with Hugh Jackman a couple of years back when they had that “salute to Broadway” theme (UGH), and I heard she was a decent SNL host last weekend. But does that qualify her to run the show, really? And is it some sort of conflict that they’re both in movies that are being talked up for nominations this year (Franco more so than Hathaway, but still)? I say we nominate these dudes instead.
Kimberly: Yet another reason why you should be our Oscar producer. Truly, I am baffled by this choice. Pretty people get everything in this crazy world—the biggest houses, the shiniest cars, the hottest drug dealers, the finest meats and cheeses—now they get to host the Oscars too? Are these two even popular enough to increase the numbers for the usually low-rated telecast? Are they going to do a dance number? You know Hathaway wouldn’t sign on until they agreed to give her a Judy Judy Judy moment. And I guess Franco can add this to his overachieving, manic resume—he is officially qualified for all the jobs now. I hope Twitter is still around in February, because this will be fun.
Sarah: The New York Times seems to think it’s a bid to lure younger viewers, I guess? But does that even make sense? Hey kids, tune in to watch the stars of The Princess Diaries and Pineapple Express make jokes about The King’s Speech! We know just what you like! Perhaps it’s time for producers to accept the Oscar telecast for what it is: a low-rated celebration for movie and fashion nerds (this is us, Kimberly) that most people don’t care too much about. Own it!
Come join us for a discussion of the trailers we’ve been privileged to experience over the last month or so. Are they tantalizing nuggets of the hits of tomorrow? Or harbingers of The Next Three Dayses to come? We do not know! But we will assume that we do, because it is our way. Have YOU seen a trailer lately? Do tell. In the Comments, please—we can’t hear you from our cubicles.
Sarah: Kimberly! There are like 40 million new trailers making their way around the internets right now! I really had a hard time choosing just two to focus on here (although, Warner Brothers helped me out some by taking down the Green Lantern trailer that popped up briefly last week. Sexiest Man Alive [NOPE] Ryan Reynolds in tights! HEE!).
Anyway, I’ll begin with Your Highness from used-to-be-really-arty-and-interesting director David Gordon Green. This trailer pains me physically. A wacky period stoner comedy with pointlessly profane contemporary dialogue and gratuitous nudity? Did we as a nation learn nothing from Year One? This is a big deal cast, too! Danny McBride, James Franco, and even the lovely Zooey Deschanel: sure. But Portman is a bit of a surprise here, yes? Flashing her ass and her really, really bad British accent around? Help me understand, Kimberly. What are all these people doing in this? How did this get made? Will people see it? (A note before you click play: Red Band trailer alert! Pitifully misused F-words aplenty!)
127 HOURS (2010/SLIFF: PREVIEW) Oh, Danny Boy(le)! What has that horrible destroyer of quality cinema “Oscar” done to you? It certainly hasn’t dampened your relatively newfound affection for manipulative cheezeball OTT synth-rock score, or for your new fave composer and Slumdog Millionaire alum A.R. Rahman, who seems to have been under the impression that this was indeed a sequel to that misguided, overrated, Oscar-sweeping crapsterpiece with this samey collection of bombastic beats. Exhibit A: Your soon-to-be released and much buzzed about Oscar bait grossout adventure 127 Hours. It’s source material is a true story, however slight: Our oddball (read: dumbass) fitness adventure nut hero goes run-hiking ALONE through treacherous canyons in Utah when he suddenly finds himself trapped under a boulder in a remote crevasse. He struggles in vain for 127 hours or theareabouts, eventually freeing himself (SPOILER, SORTA) via chopping off his arm just under the elbow with a dull pocketknife. But while you succeeded in stretching this 20 minute, tops, story into an engaging full-length feature—much to the credit of a game and funny James Franco in the challenging role of the self-amputee—what ultimately knocked your film down a couple of letter grades for me was your Slumdog-esqe ham-fisted, overcooked visuals (Oh, split screens of office drones scored by Coldplay-in-overdrive-type tunes, etc, go fuck yourselves) and the aforementioned crap score. MIND YOU: This film will be a huge audience-pleasing hit, let there be no doubt about that. And it will likely be a Best Picture contender. *Sigh* I do hope that this is just the inevitable keep-making-what-the-people-want phase of your post-Oscar career that will eventually run its course, allowing you to tone down your current 30 Seconds to Mars music video treatment M.O. and move your focus from the flash-pots and blood bags into creating something a little subtler and hopefully a bit more resonant. Something more like your creepy sci-fi masterpiece Sunshine.
Don’t get me wrong here—127 Hours isn’t a terrible movie. And the scene with Franco taking his arm off will indeed stick with you. As for the rest, it’s certainly just as rousing as any other energy-drink-infused popcorn thriller. Aw, Danny. You break my heart.
My grade: C+
HOWL (2010/ IN SELECT THEATERS) As I was leaving a crowded showing of Howl in Taos, one woman asked her friend: “Did you ever read this whole poem?” Good question! I certainly had not, but now, thanks to this very creative film, we can all answer yes. James Franco turns in yet another solid performance as a young Allen Ginsberg, the poet laureate of the Beat Generation. The film essentially (and cleverly) divides into three inter-woven parts: there’s Franco as Ginsberg (in B&W) reading the poem to a rapt coffee house audience in San Francisco on October 7, 1955; there’s Ginsberg in 1957 (this time in full color) giving an unseen interviewer the background on how he wrote the poem, while awaiting the results of an obscenity trial focused on the work; and finally there’s the trial itself against Lawrence Ferlinghetti who published Howl as part of his 4th in the Pocket Poets Series from his bookstore and publishing house, City Lights—happily still operating in San Francisco . Ferlinghetti was arrested and charged with publishing “obscenity”—Howl is full of it and also full of explicitly homosexual depictions and drug-induced rantings. It paints the Beat Generation in vivid colors for us and brings famous characters like Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady to life. The court section of the movie also brings us some sweet, small performances from a wonderful group: Bob Balaban as the judge, Jon Hamm as the defending attorney, David Strathairn as the prosecutor, Mary Louise Parker as the prim “expert” denouncing the work, Jeff Daniels as the scholarly “expert” also denouncing the work in a wonderfully convoluted use of words—based on the actual script from the trial, as I understand it. Also appearing as witnesses are Treat Williams and Alessandro Nivola. The movie sucks you right into the period, with music from Carter Burwell. And the topic of freedom of speech and tolerance in general is certainly a topical one for this post-election U.S. This movie will be hard to catch in theaters, but hopefully will be out soon on DVD. Watch for it!
Grade: A- The minus is for the weird animations chosen by the filmmakers. These have been widely criticized and while they were strange, I didn’t think they damaged the film materially.
BTW: This film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance