Posts Tagged ‘James Franco’

The Little Hours – Quirky Isn’t Necessarily Funny

Posted 14 Jul 2017 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead 

The Little Hours, Canada / USA, 2017

Written and Directed by Jeff Baena

Comedy and horror are the two most difficult genres to successfully pull off, because what makes us laugh—just like what scares us—is highly subjective. Even nearly universally acclaimed works in either genre will inevitably have their detractors, as some [backwards-thinking idiots] might not think last year’s The VVitch is scary, while other [no-fun jerks] might not find Anchorman funny, for example. I myself have been informed by numerous people that they find the sketch show Portlandia “hilarious,” though, having personally witnessed the entire first season, I don’t see how this can possibly be true.

Based on the reactions of the admittedly small crowd with me at a recent screening of The Little Hours, this is apparently a pretty funny movie, though I honestly felt like most of the laughter I heard was somewhat forced, as if the other moviegoers were just going through the expected motions when they could tell a joke had just been attempted onscreen, flat as it might have fallen. Maybe it was the only way they could feel as if they’d gotten their money’s worth; I don’t know. I never laughed once, and it pains me to say that because there are a number of gifted comedic talents involved.  Read More

Ezra’s Top Ten Favorite Movies Of 2013

Posted 01 Mar 2014 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Behind the Candelabra is a delightfully decadent look at the life of Liberace, brilliantly played by Michael Douglas in one of his very best performances. Every year, I struggle with the relatively arbitrary process of ranking movies, so this year I’ve decided to do something a little different. Instead of a traditional Top Ten list, I’m grouping two thematically connected films together for each place on the list, resulting in a hopefully more interesting Top 20 list. I’ve also included a more traditional Top Ten below that, for all you “too long, didn’t read” folks. One final note before we get to the list: it should tell you a lot about my credibility as a film critic that I liked Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa more than most of the Academy Award Best Picture nominees for 2013.

10. THE WICKER MAN: FINAL CUT / JURASSIC PARK 3-D – BEST RE-RELEASES. Obviously, this category doesn’t really count, as both of these films were originally released decades ago, but I can’t deny that each of them provided one of the most enjoyable experiences I had in a movie theater in 2013. This new cut of the original 1973 classic The Wicker Man adds some nuance and more musical numbers to an already great film. Most crucially, it opens with a scene of Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) praying in church, emphasizing his piousness from the very start, which enriches the events to follow. Jurassic Park, on the other hand, is quite simply my favorite movie (it has the most dinosaurs in it – I rest my case), and seeing it on a big screen again, in 3-D no less, made me fall in love with it all over again.  Read More

Your Highness – David Gordon Green’s Lowness

Posted 23 Jun 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

Your Highness, USA, 2011

Directed by David Gordon Green

Your Highness is a 2011 fantasy comedy film directed by David Gordon Green.What happened to David Gordon Green? I remember seeing George Washington (2000) years ago on IFC and having my mind blown. Then I got to see All the Real Girls (2003) shortly after its release and I thought to myself, “This man is a genius.” After Undertow (2004) and Snow Angels (2007), I could safely say that he was one of my favorite directors. Admittedly, I didn’t care for Snow Angels at first, but it has grown on me over time.

Then we get Pineapple Express (2008), and while it doesn’t fit in with the rest of his filmography, it’s a solid film toting subtle homages to films Green loved growing up, and even he has said it’s a film he wanted to get out of his system. But Your Highness? This is a strange inclusion to an otherwise flawless canon. I feel like he’s lost himself, or fallen in with the wrong crowd.

I don’t know if this is supposed to be a farce, a spoof, a straight comedy, or what. It’s all played for laughs, which is a plus. No one takes any second of it seriously; perhaps if they had, it would have been funnier. I think the safest thing to call this film is a misguided effort from almost everyone involved. Danny McBride and David Gordon Green have been friends since college, which is common knowledge; Green has even helped produce and direct episodes of Eastbound and Down, McBride’s brilliant television series. Pineapple Express was born of their friendship, and a mutual adoration for that sort of film, which worked purely because of their dedication to the material and Green’s unique ability to put a satirical and sarcastic twist on even the most vile subject matter. He used to remind me of Atom Egoyan (Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter), and perhaps he might again, if he avoids further films like this. Read More

The Green Hornet

Posted 09 May 2011 — by Nicole P
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

The Green Hornet, USA, 2011The Green Hornet 2011 Movie

Directed by Michel Gondry

It takes a certain kind of film to make me question the state of a genre. Certain horror movies make question the audiences that attend them, and certain movies that go on to win Oscars make me question the voters, but not since 1990’s Captain America (a horrid movie starring Matt Salinger as the first Avenger) have I sat down and thought about the state of a genre. I remember seeing that and being thankful that even after such a gigantic misfire we’re still allowed Batman movies and Spider-Man movies and even another Captain America film (which appears to be infinitely better). The Green Hornet, you should know, is one of those certain films – I’ve seen it twice now and both times I’ve thought to myself, “Is this the state of the superhero film? This is what we’ve come to?”

Michel Gondry, by all accounts, is an astonishing director; he’s a visionary. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the best films of the last ten or so years, and far and away the best film of 2004. The Science of Sleep (2006) is gorgeous. The Green Hornet is misguided and full of itself, but I mostly blame Seth Rogen for that. Rogen co-wrote, co-produced, and stars as Britt Reid, our hero (?), who puts on a mask and a trenchcoat and fights crime by pretending to be a criminal. I have no problem with the story at all; I’m a fan of The Green Hornet series and radio show and all other incarnations thereof. However, seeing it brought to this shameless level makes me wonder why it had to be done in the first place. My guess is that it was solely designed as a vehicle for Rogen, which doesn’t even make any sense because audiences already know him. He’s famous, and can open a film on his own. I generally enjoy him, specifically in supporting roles – Knocked Up (2007) is the exception that proves the rule. Read More

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards – Some Thoughts

Posted 02 Mar 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Animation, Essay, Film Industry News, Hollywood Beat, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

James Franco and Anne Hathaway host the Oscars.

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards have now come and gone, and as usual, I have a few gripes. Nothing too unexpected happened, but you must understand this is my Super Bowl: an excuse to get drunk and yell at the TV each year, so I can’t help but complain a bit about some of what went down the morning (and the rest of the week) after. Please bear with me.

Last year, I dominated my friendly Oscar pool, with 18 out of 24 categories guessed correctly. By the time they got to the last four categories, it was mathematically impossible for anyone at the party I attended to beat me, and then I got those four categories right, too. I say that to say this: oh, how the mighty have fallen. Perhaps as a result of having bet against Roger Ebert in an online competition, and thereby allowing too much of his presumed wisdom to influence my choices, I failed miserably this year, with only 15 correct guesses. I did manage to outguess Ebert by one vote, but not quite as simply as that makes it sound: he picked Geoffrey Rush for Best Supporting Actor and I picked Christian Bale, who won; I also guessed correctly in the make-up category (Rick Baker and Dave Elsey for The Wolfman) while Ebert guessed Adrien Morot for Barney’s Version, but then he managed to get a point back in the Best Director category (more on that shortly). Read More

Oscar Predictions 2011 – Which Movie Will Win the Best Picture Award?

Posted 22 Feb 2011 — by contributor
Category Box Office News, Film Industry News

The question of the year in the movie industry: Who will win the Best Picture award? Who will take another Academy Award home as winner and who will just spend the night applauding others? As no one knows for sure yet, let’s take a look at the list of the Best Picture Nominees and try to come up with some system to make predictions.

Best Picture Nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards:

Black Swan — director: Darren Aronofsky; writers: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz; stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel

The Fighter — director: David O. Russell; writers: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy; stars: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams

Inception — director: Christopher Nolan; writer: Christopher Nolan; stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ellen Page

The Kids Are All Right — director: Lisa Cholodenko; writers: Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg; stars: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo

The King’s Speech — director: Tom Hooper; writer: David Seidler; stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter

127 Hours — director: Danny Boyle; writers: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy; stars: James Franco, Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara

The Social Network — director: David Fincher; writers: Aaron Sorkin, Ben Mezrich; stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake

Toy Story 3 — director: Lee Unkrich; writers: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton; stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Joan Cusack

True Grit — directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen; writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld

Winter’s Bone — director: Debra Granik; writers: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini; stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes and Garret Dillahunt Read More

127 Hours

Posted 11 Jan 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

127 Hours, USA / UK, 2010

Directed by Danny Boyle

Fifteen minutes of sunlight every day. At 8:30am, a lone raven flies overhead. Almost out of water. No more food. God knows how long is left to go.”

127 hours movie poster of james franco on movies i didnt getI feel more than free to talk about the conclusion of this film, seeing as how it was one of the bigger news stories around five years ago. Aron Ralston, a toned and talented rock climber and athlete, fell into a canyon in the desert and was trapped “between a rock and a hard place” (the name of Ralston’s inspirational memoir), with his arm stuck between a fallen rock and the side of a mountain crevice. Consider the outcome: lose the arm or die. On paper, that choice seems to already be made, and maybe for Aron Ralston it already was. It’s just … getting there. That’s the film, and the difference between films like this and, say, Saw (1 through 18) is that this film isn’t built around the gore of that decision or the horror of that gore. Films like Saw (2004), while it’s an excellent film in its own right, seek to exploit the violent nature of the situation rather than the humanity that can be born from it. Read More