Film Preview: Palo Alto

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So, I have a confession to make.

About two years ago, my friend and I became obsessed with James Franco.  How could you not, right?  He’s got a PhD, about 17 Masters (give or take), he was nominated for an Oscar, and he’s so attractive he can pull off the ‘stoner with long, greasy hair look’.  Considering it’s not the 90s, that’s saying a lot.

Anyway.  So this friend ended up buying us matching t-shirts with his face on it.  Glorious, I know.  And granted, I never actually wore it in public, because it may have caused teenage girls to lose their shit and attack me, after being confused by the sensory information (am I James Franco?  But that’s his face!).  That, and let’s be honest, it’s pretty embarrassing to have a t-shirt with a celebrity’s face on it.  Kinda like those people who were still wearing Team Edward t-shirts when the last Twilight movie came out.  Awks.

So during this, somewhat dark, period of my life, I tried to get as much Franco as I could.  I watched old Franco and new Franco: Whatever It Takes, Never Been Kissed (yes, he has a cameo appearance in it.  And yes, I was so enthralled I focused on him over Michael Varton.  Now do you understand the extent of this issue?), Pineapple Express.  I watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which wasn’t as awful as it sounds.

I even watched Howl.  And then pretended I was into Beat poetry and that I actually cared who Allen Ginsberg was.  For the record, I don’t care about Allen Ginsberg.  And I didn’t then.

However, I did draw the line at 127 hours, because regardless of the actor, I’m not going to watch some guy hack off his own arm.  Ew.

And then I found myself in a pickle.  Because ol’ Franco was off getting his 48th Bachelor’s degree, or teaching a film subject at NYU or something and he wasn’t releasing any movies.  So I was forced to hunt through the Franco archives.  It wasn’t pretty.

Oh, sure, Freaks and Geeks is fantastic, but aside from that, there was a reason he wasn’t famous until Spiderman.  James Dean?  Probably the top 15 worst movies ever.

And then, I actually went out and bought his book, Palo Alto.  And as much as I tried to tell myself it was good, it wasn’t.  His writing was subconscious, superficial and ‘pretend-hipster’ (a term I just made up then, but if you’re from Melbourne I think you know what I’m talking about).  It was teenager angst on a new level, but without the class or the writing ability of Salinger or even Perks of a Wallflower.

So, slowly, I became to realise that Franco was a bit of a douche.  Actually, a lot of a douche.  He played a fictionalised version of himself, Franco, on General Hospital.

Douche.

And then again, in In The End.

Douche.

And he’s been known to create ‘non-visual art’ which is basically art that doesn’t exist, but is described in detail on a sheet on paper and the person has to envision the art themselves.  Personally, I would pay ‘non-visual money’ for this, but it sells for thousands and thousands of dollars.

Douche.

He butchered The Great and Powerful Oz, and then he based his next character off K-Fed.  Which is not only horribly out-dated, but also…

Douche.

In saying all this though, he has a new movie coming out, based on the previously mentioned book, Palo Alto.  Granted, he’s playing a sleazy teacher who hits on Emma Roberts, which hits a little too close to home since he recently chatted up a 17 year old on Instagram (and not even in a nice way.  He was all ‘I’ll get a hotel room’.  Bleurgh.  Take her out for a drink first, Franco.).  But I still want to see it anyway.  Because it actually looks better than the book (thank goodness), but also because Emma Roberts looks like she is playing a role that involves actual acting and nuance on her end.  So hooray.

Plus, creepy as it is, her and Franco would have beautiful babies.  And if they got together in real life, hopefully he’d stop hitting on minors.

Check out the review here.  Oh and let me know if you have had any embarrassing celebrity crushes.

PS I ended up ‘losing’ the Franco shirt.  Not only did it end up discoloured and gross (such an adequate metaphor), but it probably would have creeped out Paul when I wore it to bed.

 

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Film Review: Oz The Great and Powerful

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Combine James Franco, a $200 million budget and a well-loved children’s classic that has stood the test of time and you are bound to get one of the year’s best films.  Right?

Wrong.  Pffffttt. *Blows raspberry to adequately convey disappointment for this film*

While Oz The Great and Powerful definitely has its attributes and positive aspects, overall it was a film that lacked depth, originality and the simple charm that its predecessor, The Wizard of Oz, has in abundance.

However, as a film reviewer (self-titled, go with it) onwards and upwards I may go to describe in full, why even the lovely James Franco couldn’t keep me entertained.  Plus, I think a lot of people have really enjoyed this film so I may have to defend my opinions.

Plot:

Set 20 years before The Wizard of Oz, Oz The Great and Powerful stars James Franco as con artist Oscar  Diggs, a small-time magician who uses illusion and trickery to make people believe he is magical.  Straight away we learn that Oz lacks morals, is a bit of a ladies man and is concerned solely about making money.  When escaping from an enraged strongman via a hot air balloon, Oz is sucked up into a tornado and transported to the land of Oz.

The land, for all of its beauty, is apparently cursed by the Wicked Witch, and Oz (who everyone believes is their leader and saviour), is to team up with the two ‘good’ witch sisters to bring about her downfall.

Cue slight twist, a romance, a couple of wonderful sidekicks and a realisation that there is more to life than money and you have reached the end of more than 2 hours of film.

Expect some spoilers below.

The Good:

  • Director Sam Raimi makes good use of his massive budget by creating a beautiful and fantastical world.  The colours are gorgeous, the effects surreal and the world believable.  From the textures of the bubble, to the green of the emerald city, Raimi has produced one of the loveliest looking films going around
  • I appreciated the references, both narratively and stylistically to the classic, from the sepia tone to technicolour; the use of the tornado; the way that original characters are replicated in the Land of Oz.  And of course, the lovely yellow brick road is as omnipresent as ever.  Wouldn’t life just be better if all our sidewalks were in yellow?  I wish
  • His sidekicks Finley the flying monkey (Zach Braff) and China Girl (Joey King) (who came from Chinatown, hilarious).  They are possibly the biggest source of entertainment and hilarity that this film has to offer, which is more often than not the case.  Out of all the characters they appeared to have the most depth and personality, as well as being genuinely likeable

The Bad:

  • The acting.  The cast, while all incredibly beautiful (Franco is supported by Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz) are two dimensional and weak.  Although all have shown depth and incredible acting talent in other films, together none of them shone or appeared to be anything special.  As a big James Franco fan I expected him to bring an unusual quality to his generic and cliched character, but he fell easily into the mould and didn’t attempt to break it.  Williams was insipid as Glinda the Good Witch and Weisz immediately came across as evil, although this was meant to be one of the major twists in the film.  The only actress that appeared to put in any effort was Kunis, but once again, her character should have been a lot stronger than it was
  • The storyline.  While intended for a younger audience, I felt that this film lacked charm, innocence and that ‘something’ that so many great kids films have.  I felt that this film tried to convey multiple messages, and while its predecessor did it so well, unfortunately it just came across half-hearted and jumbled.  Are we teaching kids that money isn’t everything?  Or not to lie?  Or just to lie when it’s for a good cause?  That love can go terribly wrong if it’s one-sided?  While each of these could have been addressed in greater detail and really made a poignant point, unfortunately they weren’t explored enough to really make any traction
  • The length.  127 minutes.  I am not always adverse to long films, as I think from the past 5 years we can accurately say that some of the best films created have been lengthy.  However this, sadly, was not one of these films.  There were too many bits of the film that were unnecessary and didn’t add anything to the overall storyline, making it feel like it was dragging a lot of the time

While this is one of my more negative reviews, I know people who really enjoyed this film.  Perhaps it is out of personal preference, or because I had such high expectations (but seriously, with the combination of The Wizard of Oz and Wicked to back you, HOW did it end up with no storyline?), but at the end of the film all I felt was disappointment.

Have you seen Oz The Great and Powerful?  What did you think?  Am I too harsh?   Or do you agree?  Let me know!

Film Preview: Oz The Great and Powerful

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It’s been a while since he has graced our screens, during which time Ryan Gosling has been able to sidle in and firmly take the number one position of ‘gorgeous, kooky and incredibly smart guy’, but finally, James Franco is back, and with a bang, with his upcoming movie Oz The Great and Powerful.

About time too.  Any film where James Franco doesn’t hack off his own arm is one that I’m keen to watch.

Oz The Great and Powerful brings back Franco with Spiderman director Sam Raimi, as well as Alice in Wonderland producer Joe Roth, so expect a massive budget, lots of special effects and a fair bit of psychedelic colour usage.

Oz is a sort of prequel to the famous 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, that pulled MGM from near-bankruptcy and shot Judy Garland straight into the spot light.  Big shoes to fill.

James Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a small town circus magician with a lack of morals, who is transported into the beautiful and colourful World of Oz.  He thinks he’s hit the jackpot, until he meets the three witches, played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams.

While my inner fan girl is excited to have a new excuse to drool over James Franco, and his supporting cast in Kunis, Weisz and Williams is certainly competent, I feel that Oz could really go either way. While ideally, we as the audience will be swept away by beautiful imagery, a quirky storyline and great acting, it could be a massive flop.

The Wizard of Oz is considered such an iconic masterpiece, with stirring songs and that amazing switch from sepia to technicolour (which has been replicated in this film), one does wonder how well a film can be in comparison.

Only time will tell, but let’s be honest, either way, come March I’ll be seeing Oz The Great and Powerful.

Are you excited for this film?  Are you a James Franco fan?  Let me know!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Striptease

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There are few greater things in the entertainment industry than a serious actor that understands the importance of taking the piss out of themselves every now and then.  Otherwise, it all gets a bit old.  Sean Penn?  Pah.  Leonardo DiCaprio?  Pah.  These aren’t the actors I’m interested in.

James Franco however, playing James Franco whose in love with a Japanese body pillow on 30 Rock?  Absolutely priceless.  Dave Franco in “Go Fuck Yourself Dave Franco”?  Even better.

But I think, ladies and gentlemen, the performances by the Franco brothers has been upstaged.  And by whom?  Of course none other than Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  JGL, who recently hosted Saturday Night Live (as part of his promotional tour for his film, Looper), not only took the piss out of himself big time but he did it…while stripping.

Check out the video for yourself, where JGL not only strips down to his pants but he also manages to make a mickey out of what has to be the most ridiculous blockbuster of the year, Magic Mike.

Also, apologies to the quality, but this was the only one I could find that had the whole thing!

James Franco Gets His Claws Out

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Here at Set In Motion we usually back everything and anything that James Franco does. Partially because he’s a smart cookie who makes informed decisions and understands the circumstances of different people, and largely because he is a super babe. Honestly. The man is a walking god.

Unfortunately, this week we’re not so sure. James’ has decided to state his opinion on the latest Twilight instalment, Breaking Dawn, and the sex scenes that it includes. Here’s what he had to say:

“The protagonists finally marry, having waited until the wise old age of eighteen, and since the book and the film dutifully show them being wed, they are then allowed to fuck each others’ brains out. For a film that claims to be sexually responsible, the Twilight movies are awfully dependent on teenage sex to attract viewers. The actors prance about like pieces of meat, their disturbingly developed bodies on full display; Taylor Lautner’s rippling teenage chest is just a little better than the child beauty-pageant stars at the end of Little Miss Sunshine.”

So, here’s the thing; does he make a valid point?

Honestly, I’m on the fence with this one. I think he is quite right in that, considering it is essentially a film for young teenagers, the sex scenes were over the top, but I also believe it was an over-reaction. As someone who started reading the books years ago, I understood even then that while there weren’t actual sex scenes for the first three books, the sexual innuendos were strong; I think everyone knew what the both of them were thinking.

On top of that, I also believe that while it is wrong to show 13 year olds sex scenes (but might I add, why are 13 year olds getting involved in story lines concerning vampires? All I had was The Babysitters Club), Bella and Edward ARE 17 and 18, and at the end of the day, 17 and 18 year olds are going to be having sex.

I think the most insight that James Franco brings into this is not what is wrong with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, but what is wrong with the Hollywood film industry in general; why is it necessary that actors have to be paraded around half-naked to attract fans?

And more importantly, did James Franco REALLY go see the film?

What do you think? Was James over the top, or does he make a good point? Would you have seen Breaking Dawn if the sex scenes weren’t included? Do you think that it was a suitable movie for younger teenagers?

Let me know!

james franco

Either way, he's still amazing-(image taken from http://www.intothenow.com)

OUTRAGE!

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A couple of weeks (months?) ago, I ran a post about who was going to play Jeff Buckley in his highly anticipated biopic.  Many thought Rob Pattinson was going to get the role.  I (and many others) wanted James Franco to play the role, considering how amazing an actor he is…oh, and the uncanny resemblance the two share.

Well.  Neither party are going to get their finger in that pie (don’t ask).  Why?  Because the role of Jeff Buckley, one of the most iconic singers of our time (ish), has gone to Penn Badgley…

Yes, as in bumbling, fussy Dan from Gossip Girl.

Now, don’t get me wrong I like Penn.  He has a bit of a quirky charm.  Kinda like the American version of Hugh Grant perhaps (but without the hooker problem on the side…I hope).  But is he Jeff Buckley?  I don’t think so.

What do you think?  Happy?  Disappointed?  Willing to join me in a trip to Hollywood with your favourite throwing chair?  Let me know!

penn badgley

Jeff Buckley?-(image taken from http://www.2.bp.blogspot.com)

Rob Pattinson to play Jeff Buckley?

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For those who haven’t heard, for a while now there have been whispers throughout the showbiz industry that Brad Pitt wants to make a biopic about the late Jeff Buckley.

Smart man.  For those who aren’t sure who Jeff Buckley is, he was a singer who was popular in the 90s who released the album Grace, which contained the famous Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah (following yet?).  Sadly, in 1997 he went for a swim, fully clothed (hmm…) and drowned.

ANYWAY, while Brad Pitt has wanted to make a movie out of his life for years, he has continually met resistance from Buckley’s mother, Mary Guibert.  Luckily, for Brad Pitt, and for us, Mary seems to have changed her mind!

While production is scheduled to begin Spring this year (or Fall for you crazy Americans) and they have Jake Scott (Welcome to the Rileys) directing, they still haven’t chosen a main actor yet.

Names that have been thrown around though include James Franco and our always-delicious Rob Pattinson.  So who do you think should get the role?  Rob Pattinson has a beautiful, Buckley-like voice, but James Franco is close to being a dead ringer for him.  And honestly, James has succeeded at everything else he’s done, he could probably learn to sing as well!

Thoughts?

james franco, jeff buckley and rob pattinson

James Franco, Jeff Buckley and Rob Pattinson-(image taken from http://www.mtv.com)