5 items from 2017
A extensive look at all those movies James Franco directed.
James Franco has done a lot of things, we’ve heard. Following a successful turn on Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks and a well-received starring spot on a TNT biopic on James Dean, he turned immediately to a litany of pursuits: from playwriting and English degrees to painting and directing no less than ten feature-lengths. The latter project interested me. Were they any good? In Franco’s Rolling Stone profile last year, Jonah Weiner ran around a thesaurus of words like “dizzying,” “indefatigable“ and, wait for it, “multihyphenate” to describe his subject but none of those words mean very much. Paul Klee painted over a thousand paintings in the penultimate last year of his life. So could I. So what?
- Andrew Karpan
Exclusive: Scott Haze, who has appeared in such films as Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special, The Sound and the Fury and Child Of God, has signed with a team at CAA, moving from ICM. Haze recently was seen in James Franco’s In Dubious Battle, with Nat Wolff, Josh Hutcherson and Selena Gomez, which premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival. His upcoming slate includes Jason Hall’s Thank You for Your Service, starring Miles Teller and Amy Schumer, which Universal releases… »
Starting today, horror fans can check into The Institute at theaters and on VOD via Momentum Pictures, and we caught up with co-director Pamela Romanowsky to discuss collaborating with co-director James Franco, the movie's unique filming location, and much more.
Pamela Romanowsky: Well, the first question for me was “why a horror film?” I like films across lots of genres, but I’m not a horror buff, so this was a first for me. The horror films I do love are genre blending, movies that are character-based and explore things that are dark but still based in reality, and in the dark corners of human psychology. I’ve never really been scared of the supernatural, but people are certainly capable of terrifying and very dark things. »
- Derek Anderson
Let it be known that I genuinely like James Franco. Given the choice between ‘yer average pretty boy movie star and a ludicrous avant-garde polymath jester, I’ll pick the latter every time. Problem is, while the self-titled Mayor of Gay Town gleefully smashes through cultural/social/artistic boundaries like a steam train, the art that’s produced at the end of it is… not great.
And so to In Dubious Battle, an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s 1936 novel of the same name and the latest in Franco’s quest to put his favorite books on screen. This weighty literary project has, thus far, borne little of value. His adaptations of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying were “nearly unwatchable” and “stale and jumbled,” and his take on Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God “tedious and meandering”. Sadly, this trend remains unbroken.
Set during the Great Depression, »
- David James
James Franco’s death march through the American literary canon continues with In Dubious Battle, a John Steinbeck adaptation so conventionally dismal that it makes one better appreciate the artsy, dawdling garbage that is the actor turned dilettante’s usual stock in trade. Every Franco personal project—from his unintelligible, low-budget adaptations of William Faulkner (As I Lay Dying, The Sound And The Fury) and Cormac McCarthy (Child Of God) to his novels and assorted experiments in self-fellatio—is born with a “Kick Me” sign on its back, begging critics to punt it in the keister for making artistic ambition look lame. This one even comes with a freebie: It’s got “dubious” right there in the title. But instead of being sloppily miscalculated (the “Franco touch”), this attempt at a Depression-era labor drama in the vein of John Sayles just bores its way through almost two hours of screen »
- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
5 items from 2017
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