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Park City - I would guess there is no working actor right now more suited to playing the lead in "I Am Michael" than James Franco. Walking into the film this morning, I didn't know what it was about. That's how I like to try to see as many movies as possible at Sundance, because it leaves the opportunity for surprises. As soon as it started, though, I recognized the material, and I became intrigued to see how they were going to approach telling the story of MIchael Glatze, who is best known for being a former high-profile advocate for gay rights who "went straight" in a very public way after a health scare, eventually becoming a Christian pastor and proclaiming himself heterosexual. That's a tough story to tell without demonizing either side of things, and I wasn't sure I really wanted to see a movie that played Glatze as a hero. »
- Drew McWeeny
Is it love, is it like, and how much does adding sex to the equation really matter?
“Sleeping With Other People,” a romantic comedy for the 21st century, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to raucous laughter and genuine appreciation on Saturday for its empathetic look at how love, sex and intimacy work these days.
The answer seems to be: complicatedly.
- Sharon Waxman
“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” and “Listen to Me Marlon” are intimate and revealing, and one of them is also loud
Kurt Cobain and Marlon Brando, two cultural icons from vastly different eras and arenas, took center stage at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, with the back-to-back world premiere of documentaries that drew heavily on words and footage from the rock and acting legends.
“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” and “Listen to Me Marlon” could scarcely be more different. The former is a blistering, raucous and unwieldy look at the Nirvana frontman, the latter an elegant meditation on the »
- Steve Pond
Alchemy is in negotiations to acquire North American rights to director Kim Farrant’s drama “Strangerland,” which stars Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes and Hugo Weaving, multiple individuals familiar with the negotiations have told TheWrap.
Alchemy is the company formerly known as Millennium Entertainment that recently rebranded itself under the direction of Bill Lee.
The deal is worth at least $1.5 million and calls for a multi-platform release as well as a theatrical commitment in 15 U. »
- Jeff Sneider
Over the past decade, we've seen the rise of the bromance, mostly popularized by Seth Rogen and James Franco with films like Pineapple Express and The Interview, or even Jonah Hill with Michael Cera and Channing Tatum in Superbad and 21 Jump Street repectively. But the new indie The D-Train starring Jack Black and James Marsden takes the bromantic comedy to a whole new level, and it makes for an absolutely hilarious and wild ride. If you want to keep aspects of this comedy in the dark (which I recommend), then stop reading after the fourth paragraph and then just come back for the final paragraph. Dan Landsman (Black) is one of those guys who just tries too hard, and it really gets on the nerves of most people, especially those on the high school alumni committee who are having trouble rounding up people to attend the 20-year reunion. Dan keeps giving himself nicknames like D-Fresh, »
- Ethan Anderton
“If it’s the right role, I guess,” said Franco during an interview at the Sundance Film Festival. “There’s a lot of graphic novels that I like that aren’t superheroes.”
In particular, Franco said he was drawn to a graphic novel by Derf Backderf entitled “My Friend Dahmer” that sounds pretty far removed from the webspinner films. Backderf went to high school with Dahmer, the infamous serial killer, and paints a portrait of the murderer as a disturbed young man.
“He was a bit crazy in high school,” said Franco. “Ten years after that, when Dahmer was caught, somebody called up the writer and they were like, ‘Dude, somebody from our high »
- Brent Lang
James Franco’s ongoing game of sexual-identity peekaboo gets its most provocative jolt yet from “I Am Michael,” a remarkably even-handed account of outspoken gay-rights journalist Michael Glatze’s 180-degree identity reversal, which shocked friends and admirers after he found religion, rejected his queer “lifestyle” and became a Christian pastor. While admirable in its seeming impartiality, Justin Kelly’s hot-potato directorial debut won’t be seen by many beyond the arthouse and festival circuit, but it will nevertheless rile viewers and provoke discussion on all sides, simply because it cuts to the heart of the self-doubt, fear and prejudice associated with modern homosexuality.
Coming out is a complicated process, and it probably would have made sense to start “I Am Michael” there — not at the moment Michael realized he was gay, but rather with his personal coming-out story, which nearly all gay men of a certain generation tell and retell. »
- Peter Debruge
There are two ways of seeing "I Am Michael," the provocative first feature from director Justin Kelly: It's either a tragic portrait of former gay rights activist Michael Glatze, who renounced his homosexuality in 2007 and eventually denounced it as a sin, or it's a stirring look at a conflicted man coping with his crisis of faith. That tantalizing open-ended perspective is key to the movie's subtle effect. Anchored by a remarkably convincing performance by James Franco in the lead role, "I Am Michael" manages to explore Glatze's story without condemning him, even as it foregrounds the troubling nature of his path. After a grave opening sequence set in 2008, in which a buttoned-up Glatze delivers a stern rebuke to the desires of a young gay man, "I Am Michael" flashes back a decade to find him at a very different stage: He's living comfortably with his boyfriend (Zachary Quinto) in San Francisco, »
- Eric Kohn
Park City — There is a moment in Rupert Goold's "True Story" that is truly captivating. After watching her husband be manipulated from afar, Jill Finkel (played marvelously by Felicity Jones), goes to meet accused murderer Christian Longo (James Franco) at the county jail where he's incarcerated. In less than five minutes Jill uses the tale of 16th century composer Carlo Gesualdo, who murdered his wife and baby in cold blood, to unmask Longo as the killer she knows he is and to make it clear his charade will only get so far as long as she's around. It's a moment that demonstrates how talented the current Oscar nominee for Best Actress is in what has been a thankless role up until his point in the film. It also underlines how frustrating a film "True Story" is that the best scene in the movie doesn't include star Jonah Hill and barely involves Franco. »
- Gregory Ellwood
As Park City shimmers with star sightings, one director arrives at a film-fest party with a +23.
Director Eli Roth rolled into Sundance Film Festival hotspot Tao with about +23 (we lost count), while real “Entourage” guy Adrian Grenier talked about a sequel to the film while staying true to his “Aquaman” roots and promoting his “Lonely Whale” documentary project.
Also read: Sundance Party Report in Pictures: The Snowy Scene in Park City (Updating Photos)
Here is what is happening outside the screenings and behind the ropes in Park City, Utah.
- Mikey Glazer
This week, Chrissy Teigen shows some major cleavage in a sexy selfie, David Spade channels "Duck Dynasty" on the set of the sequel to "Joe Dirt" and Selena Gomez has one epic food fight! And, the Kardashian/Jenner girls spend some quality time with Bruce Jenner, Hilary Duff has one adorable garage cleaning party and Sam Smith looks pretty upset after his recent split from boyfriend Jonathan Zeizel. Plus, James Franco gets booted from a Broadway show, Lady Gaga looks absolutely stunning with no makeup and Taylor Swift has a classy girls' night with Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid! Click "Launch Gallery" above to see these stars' personal pics and even more celeb candids in this week's best celebrity TwitPics! Read more »
- tooFab Staff
“True Story” feels especially well-timed in its release, due to how it grapples with the kinds of issues that were collectively struggled with last fall in the form of the Serial podcast and Rolling Stone magazine's Uva debacle, such as questions of who to believe, what constitutes the truth, and how to present the facts of a horrifying situation. These ideas drive “True Story,” and the result is a chilling film that, despite its craft and best efforts, still struggles to overcome its star power. While that is what gets films like this made (and producer Brad Pitt made an appearance during its introduction at Sundance), in the case of a true crime tale such as this, it serves as a bit of a distraction. "True Story" is a two-hander between Jonah Hill and James Franco, in a vastly different mode than any of their previous times sharing the screen. »
- Katie Walsh
Late in Rupert Goold’s True Story, a character describes James Franco’s character, the convicted murderer Christian Longo, as being “very calm, very remote.” The same could be said of Goold’s debut feature film, which turns a cold, almost clinical eye on a deeply unsettling story of murder and betrayal. Franco and Jonah Hill star in the fact-based tale (did that title tip you off? it should have) as a pair of seemingly different men brought together by something a little bit like fate or luck, if you believe that fate has a sense of humor and luck is kind of a bitch. When the film opens, the pair is in disparate places, with Longo hiding out in Mexico, having fled Oregon after apparently murdering his wife and their three children in horrifying and heinous fashion, while Hill’s Michael Finkel is toiling away on a story about child slaves in Africa, the »
- Kate Erbland
The tale of a fired New York Times reporter whose identity is nicked by an accused killer sounds like a gift. Jordan Hoffman finds something hollow beneath the cinematic wrapping
You’d think that when a man accused of killing his wife and children is using your name as an alias it would always be a bad thing. For Michael Finkel it turns out to be the lucky break he needs to climb from the cellar of dishonour following an ethics scandal. Finkel (Jonah Hill) is a celebrated investigative journalist newly fired by the New York Times for bending the truth so his exposé on injustice in Africa would be more effective. After finding nothing but slammed doors as he looks for new work, he learns that Christian Longo (James Franco), an accused killer on the lam in Mexico, has assumed his identity. Since Longo is claiming innocence, and Finkel feels as if he, »
- Jordan Hoffman
Truth is strange, but hardly any more interesting than fiction in “True Story,” a perplexingly serious new collaboration for James Franco and Jonah Hill. In Franco’s case, this macabre project plays right into the label-defying star’s ongoing exploration of slippery identities (here he plays a sociopath beyond redemption). Even so, one wonders just how eager audiences will be to watch a tony adaptation of ex-New York Times reporter Michael Finkel’s self-serving memoir, a conscience-cleanser written to redeem himself after being tarred and feathered for inventing a composite character in a high-profile cover story.
Unlike 2004’s respected yet low-earning “Shattered Glass,” this unconventional two-hander is less preoccupied with the undoing of a respected journo than with the odd bond that Finkel (Hill) went on to forge with convicted child killer Christian Longo (an appropriately icy Franco). Nor is the script — a surprisingly non-conceptual treatment, considering how Charlie Kaufman the project could have gone, »
- Peter Debruge
North Korea comedy’s cinematographer, Brandon Trost, talks the turbulent past weeks and terror threats
See photos: Sony Hack Attack Timeline: From First Cyberbreach and Leaks to ‘The Interview’ Release (Photos)
“We shot the movie a year before all this went down, »
- Matt Donnelly
On Monday night’s Conan, Rob Lowe admitted he doesn’t “get” James Franco. Stars: they really are just like us! Lowe then read some choice excerpts from Franco’s recent poetry collection – apparently payback for the time Franco read a bunch of excerpts from Lowe’s book in front of various American monuments. Stars: maybe less like us than we think.
Related: Larry Wilmore promises politics, comedy and virality in late-night slot
Continue reading »
- Monica Heisey
Kristin Cavallari says having a Kim Kardashian butt “is not in the cards” for her, Jennifer Lopez admits her exes weren’t all that attractive, male models showed their junk on the runway, and more celebrity news.
Kristin Cavallari admits she can be too skinny and is working on getting a bigger booty. [E!] Jennifer Lopez threw shade at all of her exes on Watch What Happens Live last night. [Us Weekly] Is exposed penis on the runway too much? It wasn’t for the Rick Owens’ menswear fashion show in Paris yesterday. [The Guardian] On the Wendy Williams Show, Anthony Mackie said: “I’m from the south… if he wants a sandwich, you make daddy a sandwich.” Ummm, sexist much? [YouTube] Harry Potter‘s Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy, is a real life Gryffindor. (Gasp!) [Us Weekly]
Today was the day. I finally did it. I joined Pottermore and was sorted into……..Gryffindor. Heart broken x »
- Taylor Ferber
The television industry is catching up with film and learning that pot sells in Hollywood. As more states join the legal marijuana movement and the drug becomes less taboo in the country, entertainment industry insiders say interest in weed-related storylines is at an all-time high.
Showtime series “Shameless,” for instance, which follows Chicago’s dysfunctional Gallagher family and stars William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum, will embark on a major weed arc later this year. The network is also responsible »
- Itay Hod
The I Am Michael threesome scene has arrived.
Photos: Stars In Their Underwear
RabbitBandini Productions released the first still from the film, while Franco shared his own kiss pic between him and Quinto.
I Am Michael, directed by Justin Kelly, follows a gay activist and magazine founder who is "saved" from his homosexuality after turning to God. Franco portrays real-life character Michael Glatze, and Quinto plays his beau Bennett.
After seeing these stills, are you excited for the film?
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