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The 34-year-old renaissance man has an undergraduate degree from UCLA, among other diplomas. He's been nominated for an Academy Award, and even (sort of) hosted the awards in 2011. Professionally, Franco has acted in a long list of movies, directed several others, and even written roughly a dozen plus screenplays.
Starting today, November 27, multi-hyphenate Franco can be seen facing off against Jason Statham in the Sylvester Stallone-penned action flick "Homefront." Franco plays Gator, a small-town meth kingpin who butts heads with Statham, a former DEA agent who shows up in Franco's town to finally settle down with his family.
Do you already know more about Franco than you'd care to? Maybe. Do you know everything there is to know about the man? Unlikely. From his middle-school shoplifting days to that time he shadowed a male prostitute, »
- Jonny Black
I'll admit to being a big fan of Keanu Reeves. Like most of you, I grew up watching his movies: Bill & Ted, Point Break, Speed, The Matrix, My Own Private Idaho, Constantine, Dracula, and so many others. So when I was invited to London to visit the set of 47 Ronin with a few other online reporters, I was very excited. Thankfully, what I saw looked very cool. The level of detail on the costumes, massive practical sets, and in every other behind-the-scenes detail made me think director Carl Rinsch was bringing something to life that has never been done. I'm genuinely excited to see the finished film on Christmas Day. During a break in filming, Reeves sat down with me and my fellow online reporters for an interview. He talked about why he wanted to be in the film, learning Japanese, his character, how the project changed along the way, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Keanu Reeves Calls the Shots
Keanu Reeves first caught the eye of audiences and critics in Tim Hunter’s incendiary 1986 film River’s Edge, playing a suburban high school burn-out struggling to find his moral center after his best friend murders a classmate. Reeves went on to carve a unique and prolific filmography over the next 27 years, in such diverse hits as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Dangerous Liaisons, My Own Private Idaho, Little Buddha, Point Break, Speed, and the Matrix Trilogy.
2013 finds Keanu Reeves bowing with his directorial debut, Man of Tai-Chi, a muscular martial arts adventure set and filmed in contemporary China. Starring legendary Hong Kong actor/stuntman Tiger Hu Chen as an impoverished young man who uses his deadly martial arts skills in lucrative underground fights, Reeves co-stars in one of his few villainous turns as the corporate kingpin behind the pay-per-view death matches. »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
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It was 20 years ago today that River Phoenix died on a dirty sidewalk in Hollywood. If that sentence sounds a bit harsh, well, it’s supposed to. That’s the unfortunate reality of the what happened on October 31, 1993. One of the most promising actors of his generation had just been inside of Johnny Depp‘s notoriously hedonistic rock club, the Viper Room, hoping to join his buddy Flea (from the Red Hot Chili Peppers) on-stage, but instead decided to ingest a cocktail—a literal cocktail!—that contained heroin and cocaine. Just a few minutes later, he was convulsing near a parking meter on Sunset Boulevard; he never regained consciousness. He was 23 years old.
Sadly, we’ll never get to know whether or not River Phoenix would’ve been able to successfully traverse that very fine tightrope that popular child actors must cross to carry them into the realm of successful adult actors. »
- Mark Graham
Talk to Keanu Reeves and Tiger Hu Chen about their new film Man of Tai Chi? Whoa! Joking aside, it was a rare chance and one for which I was grateful. Reeves is a fascinating figure who has crafted a solid career for himself across a wide range of story types. My Own Private Idaho, The Devil's Advocate, Point Break, and The Matrix franchise couldn't be more different from one another. Yet Reeves has brought all those characters to life, and subverted the movie star paradigm he's often been saddled with by underplaying. Remember when everybody thought he'd be stuck making Bill and Ted sequels for the rest of his life? Man of Tai Chi gives him a chance to mug villainous and he has some genuinely...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Thursday marks the 20th anniversary of River Phoenix's untimely death on Oct. 31, 1993. The actor was just 23 when he died outside the Viper Room in West Hollywood due to a drug overdose, but made his mark on the world after starring in beloved films Stand By Me (1986), Running on Empty (1988) and My Own Private Idaho (1991). His final film, Dark Blood, was completed in 2012. In Phoenix's honor, we're taking a look back at a few of our favorite clips of the gone-but-never-forgotten star. Watch the clips below and share your favorite memories in the comments below. Classic: Check out this Stand By Me tribute. »
- Erin Clements
There's a moment of sharp emotional poignancy towards the end of Rob Reiner's beloved coming of age drama Stand by Me. After a summer he'll never forget Gordie (Wil Wheaton) waves goodbye to his friend Chris Chambers, and as the latter strides off, his image fades away from the screen.
It's a scene that cuts deep for anyone who's seen and loves Stand by Me; not only does it foreshadow Chris's untimely death, years later it all draws parallels between the character and the actor who so memorably brought him to life, River Phoenix.
It has been 20 years since Phoenix died tragically outside the Viper Room club in Los Angeles, but his filmography grows all-the-more impressive over time. Phoenix has a spectacular list of collaborations with directors, racking up films with the likes of Joe Dante, Steven Spielberg, Peter Bogdanovich, Gus Van Sant, Sidney Lumet and Peter Weir in his all-too brief 23 years. »
Odd List Simon Brew Ryan Lambie 26 Sep 2013 - 07:09
The year 1991 is the focus for our latest underappreciated films list, which includes dramas, thrillers, and a smattering of horror...
Ah, 1991. The year Robert Patrick ran after cars in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and Kevin Costner grew a spectacular mullet for Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. But outside the top ten blockbuster list, there lies an entire world of other, less celebrated films to discover.
Some of the movies on this list have been included because they were overlooked in theatres, while others have been added because they were unfairly dismissed by critics. One or two others were modest successes, but (whisper it) we decided to include them anyway because we really, really like them.
So here, for your delectation, is our pick of 25 underappreciated films from 1991.
Trevor Hogg chats with Primetime Emmy-nominee Peter James about his career and the art of cinematography...
“My father was a house painter and my mother worked at the school canteen; she was a hairdresser as a young girl during the war,” recalls Peter James of his childhood growing up in Sydney, Australia. “We didn’t even have a record player in the house. We didn’t get a black and white TV until 1963.” The prospects for the teenager did not look good until his cousin Jon Cleary, a prolific novelist who had an Oscar nominated adaptation called The Sundowners (1960) produced, intervened. “He had written several film scripts and asked my parents, ‘What is Peter going to do when he finishes school?’ I was only 15. They said, ‘He’s hopeless. He can’t read or write.’ In fact I’m dyslectic. The word dyslectic hadn’t been invented in those days. »
Someone at Strand Releasing’s home vid dept will have a minor “pickle” of a situation when it comes to indexing their library, as the company which a couple of years back picked up François Ozon’s Le Refuge, have now added Refuge by first time helmer Jessica Goldberg. The pic received some indie festival love playing at the ’12 of the Hamptons and Woodstock Film Festivals and we estimate a 2014 release is in the works.
Gist: Starring Krysten Ritter in the lead matriarchal role, this is set in a rundown house somewhere in America, and tells the darkly funny and touching story of a young woman, Amy, forced to care for her younger brother and sister after her parents have abandoned the family and fled to Florida for a vacation from which they will never return. In a desperate attempt at connection, Amy brings home a drifter, Sam, for a one-night stand. »
- Eric Lavallee
June is always the toughest month for me to wrap my head 'round. It's my busy birthday month, the summer hits, the blog dips. And when it's over I'm all like "What? The year is half over?!?!?" In the last week of June we celebrated Gay Moments in Cinema and though it wasn't planned we gave equal time to movies before gay liberation (Suspicion, All About Eve, The Maltese Falcon) as after (My Beautiful Laundrette, and My Own Private Idaho) which is kinda how we always do here at Tfe, spanning all eras of movies. We can't be penned in by the now! I didn't have time to revisit but I myself kept thinking about Weekend, that recent gay romantic drama that instantly seems to have seized hearts, gay and straight, around the internet. I couldn't be prouder of that movie if it was the last movie on earth. Where »
- NATHANIEL R
Team Experience is celebrating Gay Pride with their favorite moments in gay cinema... Here's Craig (of 'Take Three' fame) on a certain seminal early 90s trip... Happy Gay Pride Weekend Everyone!
The open road and the “messed-up” faces along the way are what haunt lost hustler Mike (River Phoenix) most in My Own Private Idaho. In Gus Van Sant’s seminal 1991 gay road movie Mike trips through narcoleptic encounters with both male and female clients, Wizard of Oz-style barns crashing to the ground, talking porno mag covers, tableaux vivants sex scenes and Shakespeare’s Henry IV. His is an eventful, hardscrabble life filled with grit and longing. Each scene arouses memorable moments that every Idaho fan — gay, bi, straight or whatever it takes to have a nice day — surely still carries with them.
The most hopelessly romantic moment in the film and one of its best scenes is Mike’s campfire stopover. »
- Craig Bloomfield
One of the more interesting actors to watch over the past few years has been Keanu Reeves, with a filmography that includes dramas such as My Own Private Idaho to action films such as Speed to science fiction films such as The Matrix. What the actor has yet to do, however, is take the directorial reins of a film, something he looks to change with his next project. Titled Man of Tai Chi, the film is written by Michael G. Cooney, and Reeves stars in a supporting role alongside directing, with The Matrix stuntman Tiger Hu Chen taking the lead role, joined by Iko Uwais and Jeremy Marinas. A new trailer for the film has now been released, and can be seen below.
- Deepayan Sengupta
There have been several names floating around as the potential director of "Fifty Shades of Grey," the erotic bestseller by E.L. James that chronicles the sinfully wicked sexual adventures of college student Anastasia Steele and mysterious billionaire Christian Grey. While none of the would-be candidates (such has Angelina Jolie) seem to have any interest in the project, there's one filmmaker who's bound and determined to score the gig for himself: Gus Van Sant.
The "Good Will Hunting" director is apparently lobbying hard for the assignment and has even gone so far as to shoot one of the book's many sex scenes ... starring "Magic Mike" up-and-comer Alex Pettyfer, according to The Wrap.
The scene, which now makes for the steamiest demo reel around town, is quite the doozy, too, as insiders say it's the moment where Steele loses her virginity to Grey. No word on who Pettyfer's co-star might be, but »
- Bryan Enk
Promised Land, 2012.
Directed by Gus Van Sant.
A salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources.
Promised Land is a classic morality tale of greed verses the greater good, focusing on the current political climate and controversy of drilling for natural gas. As a film it is both entertaining and thought provoking, which we can assume is the balance the film makers were attempting to strike.
Set in small town mid-America, the film tells the story of Steven Butler (Matt Damon) and his colleague Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand) who, representing a $9 billion fracking company, arrive from ‘the big city’ to convince the local townsfolk to sign over their land to be drilled on in return for financial gain. »
- Flickering Myth
I promised longtime Tfe super fan Ryan that I would one day write up a big top ten of the 90s piece although This Is Not It. This is like those tossed back "shots" of past decades wherein we tell each other our favorites. I'll tell you my ten favorites which are wildly unstable and could be replaced by anything in the "with apologies to" list if I'd ranked on another day. Well, not the top three. I mean... let's not get crazy.
The Piano (Jane Campion) Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson) Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott) Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson) Beauty & The Beast (Trousdale & Wise) All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar) Trois Coleurs Trilogy (Krystof Kzielowski) T2: Judgment Day (James Cameron) Fargo (The Coen Bros) Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino)
Most of them weren't even nominated for Best Picture. (Sigh). Oscar is so...
With apologies to 15 more. Let's call it »
- NATHANIEL R
Miami — When actor Jonathan Pryce first received a copy of River Phoenix's last film "Dark Blood," it sat unwatched on his desk for months. He worried about how he would feel reliving Phoenix's death, growing nostalgic about memorable dinners the two shared after long days of filming in Utah and recalling the shocking 5 a.m. phone call telling him the young actor had died.
"It's very hard to comprehend for a while. It was a terribly sad time," said Pryce, who starred in the film alongside Phoenix and Judy Davis.
Now, 20 years later, "Dark Blood" made its U.S. premiere at the Miami International Film Festival on Wednesday, a testament to the endurance of 80-year-old director George Sluizer, who almost died before the film was completed, and a tribute to Phoenix's timeless charisma. It's uncertain whether the film will ever go to a general release. Sluizer said negotiations are »
Each and every month, we here at Sound On Sight dedicate the entire month to a specific theme. Sometimes we follow an event, an actor, a filmmaker and so on, as decided by our readers who vote on our monthly poll. February of 2013 was dedicated to actor Keanu Reeves. When the results came in, just about everyone was surprised that Keanu won over Steven Soderbergh, who finished a close second. But what has been even more surprising is that our Keanu Reeves marathon is without a doubt the most successful so far – driving in more traffic than the likes of Quentin Tarantino and 007.
Despite the fact that his acting has frequently been ridiculed as wooden, Keanu has always had a magical presence everywhere he appears, both on and offscreen. There is something to be said about a man who dropped out of high-school to follow his dreams of acting, and 27 years later, »
Recently, the intrepid co-hosts of Sound on Sight radio asked me to help host a podcast devoted to Keanu Reeves. I had been hoping for a long time that they would have just such a podcast, and I wanted to take this opportunity to explain a little bit more about why I find Reeves to be such a fascinating figure, and why I have spent so many hours of my life thinking about him and enjoying his films. It’s already fairly common knowledge that Reeves is a pretty spectacular human being. In terms of recounting his personal awesomeness, this article (http://www.ranker.com/list/the-7-greatest-_true_-keanu-reeves-stories-ever-told/joanne) does a better job than I ever could. Give it a glance. But being an amazing human hasn’t necessarily won Keanu the accolades he deserves in the artistic world. And so, in terms of arguing for his value as a film star, »
- Kate Rennebohm
There is so much great content published every week here at Sound On Sight, that even we have trouble keeping up. So, every Sunday, we will drop a list of the best articles delivered by our hard working, and extremely talented staff.
Forecasting the Force Part One: The New ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy
A not so long ways away in a galaxy, well, in our own galaxy actually, a corporation adorned with mouse ears and a big blue castle are about to release the first of a barrage of new Star Wars films. This story begins in 2015, summer most likely, possibly late December, and starts with the seventh film in the Star Wars series;Episode VII. Actually, this story has really already begun in the hive-mind of internet speculation. Ever sinceDisney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm last October, the internet has been ablaze with questions and rumors of who would write, star and direct, »
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