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The Color of Time
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The Color of Time More at IMDbPro »

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Didn't get it! 1/10

Author: leonblackwood from United Kingdom
1 November 2014

Review: This film was totally boring! All the way through the movie, James Franco is quoting his own poetry, which sounded like complete gibberish to me and there isn't any talking at all. Kunis is only in a couple of scenes and the movie goes back and forth in time which makes it even more confusing. After looking at the cover for the film, it looked really promising, but what I didn't know was that there wasn't any script and its totally based on poetry. Personally, I lost interest after the first few minutes and the annoying music really got on my nerves. Maybe I didn't get the point of the project but I don't think that I missed much. Awful!

Round-Up: What is James Franco and Mila Kunis doing in this movie? Franco is known for doing some quirky movies, but this one was really bad. I honestly thought that it was going to be a Rom-com or something in that type of genre, but its a deep drama about a man who starts thinking about his past and he begins to question his love for his girlfriend. Thats the only part of the film that made sense to me but it started to go down other avenues which were strange. Anyway, I think that you can tell that I didn't enjoy this movie at all and I found it a complete waste of time. 

I recommend this movie to people who are into there deep dramas about a poet who has flashbacks of his past. 1/10

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A film that goes nowhere

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
17 December 2014

This film tells the life story of the poet CK Williams, through the use of his poems.

I had high hopes for this film because there are three stars that I like in it. Unfortunately, there just isn't enough material to fill up the already short screen time. It tells several excerpts of Williams's life, and none of these events have dramatic turns. In fact, the events told are so plain that they are not even interesting. Watching Williams watching TV about a nuclear disaster, without any follow up or response, hardly qualifies as interesting. Either Williams had a very uneventful life, or the research into his life when making this film was inadequate. "Tar" is a film that goes nowhere, which is a pity as there is great star power.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Based on poems

Author: kosmasp
21 June 2015

Not on Poe that is and something that might have helped me (maybe others too?) to figure out what it (the movie) was trying to do here. As it is and without any knowledge going into this, I had no clue what to expect. It is clear that everything is kinda connected, but I'm pretty sure the poems themselves make much more sense and are a lot more gripping than the way the movie portray the stories.

The acting cast on hand is good, but feel as disconnected as the rest of the movie most of the time. Maybe if you have read the poems it'll be easier and more enjoyable or maybe this will float your boat no matter what. But I reckon a majority will find this "boring" (or annoying, depending on your mood maybe both). As it is, this slow paced drama is just above the water ...

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

All shades of light and blinding shadows...

Author: martin lane ( from Cortland Ny
17 August 2015

This is a prime example of a film that will either alienate or entrance...or possibly both at the same time. My suggestion for best getting something out of this collage of words and images is to just abandon all preconceptions and allow it to seduce you.

First simply savor the absolutely stunning beauty of the photography...the incandescence of the closeups and exquisite portraits of potentially mundane locals are among the most beautiful images that I have ever seen...

And as the visual glow seduces you ...let the deceptively simple words gradually intertwine with the photography till the entire film becomes a rather entrancing collage of one creative human's voyage through life.

I am saddened that so few audiences seem willing to give up a few moments of their lives to open themselves to one of the loveliest and most perceptive little films in recent memory...

Give it (and yourself) a chance.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Kind of reminds me of one of Terrence Malick's lesser movies.

Author: Hellmant from United States
13 February 2015

'THE COLOR OF TIME': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Biographical drama flick, based on the life of Pulitzer Prize winning poet C.K. Williams; told through flashbacks and narrated by the words of his famous poems. The movie stars James Franco (who also served as a producer on the film), Henry Hopper, Jordan March and Zachary Unger; as Williams, in various stages of his life. It also features celebrities like Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Zach Braff and Bruce Campbell; in supporting roles (It might be interesting to note that Franco, Kunis, Braff and Campbell also all worked together on the 2013 blockbuster 'OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL', which was probably filming around the same time). It was written and directed by twelve New York University film students; including Edna Luise Biesold, Sarah-Violet Bliss, Gabrielle Demeestere, Alexis Gambis, Shruti Ganguly, Brooke Goldfinch, Shripiya Mahesh, Pamela Romanowsky, Bruce Thierry Cheung, Tine Thomasen, Virginia Urreiztieta and Omar Zuniga Hidalgo. I found the movie to be very beautiful to watch, and pretty moving at times, but ultimately unfulfilling.

The film is an adaptation of 11 of C.K. Williams' most famous poems. Each poem is used to tell a pivotal story in Williams' life; from the 1940s to the early 1980s. Franco plays Williams at age 40; when he's married, to Catherine (Kunis), and has two children. As he prepares for a reading, in New York City the next day, C.K. sits down to write new poems. While doing so, he recollects on memories from his past. His memories tell stories of his childhood, teen years and current marriage. Most of his flashbacks deal with important women, like his mother (Chastain), from his past life.

The scenery is breathtaking and some of the imagery is moving; and also disturbingly haunting, as well. We never get to know the characters, in the flashbacks, very well though; including Williams. So while the movie is always stunning to look at, and feels pretty emotional at times, it doesn't leave you with very much to think about, when it's over. It is worth seeing though, just for it's gorgeous visuals alone, and the performances are all more than decent. The film kind of reminds me of one of Terrence Malick's lesser movies; especially while watching Chastain, as a mother in the 1940s. I think these filmmakers have a lot of promise, and will do much better films in the future!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Film by Committee

Author: David Ferguson ( from Dallas, Texas
11 December 2014

Greetings again from the darkness. It's either a most unusual biopic on Pulitzer Prize winning poet CK Williams, an example of how director Terrence Malick has influenced the next wave of filmmakers, or a self-congratulatory exercise disguised as a class project. Regardless of your final take, most cinephiles will muster at least a modicum of interest in a film with 11 directors and 12 writers … each NYU film students during James Franco's time on campus as an adjunct professor.

We see the life of CK Williams through the flashbacks and memories of James Franco (as an adult Williams prepping for a reading of "Tar"). Williams as a child, as an adolescent, and as a college student (played by Henry Hopper, son of Dennis) offer a glimpse into the girls and events that helped shape his poetry. The sequence of Williams as a child is so similar to Malick's Tree of Life, that we viewers experience our own flashbacks … right down to Jessica Chastain recreating her scenes from that movie (this time as Williams' mother).

Mila Kunis plays Catherine, Williams' second and current wife, and it's clear – in a modern expressionist kind of way – that they are very happy together. There are a couple of disjointed sequences that come across as created simply to provide an outlet for Zach Braff and Bruce Campbell. However, when dealing with poetry, rules don't apply … at least that seems to be what this group of young filmmakers would have us believe. The washed out colors, fuzzy focus, shots of nature, and muted emotions dotted with monotone dialogue are all elements of artsy films. Whether these are the foundations of artsy films is a separate topic. Interspersed throughout are a couple of clips of CK Williams with his own readings.

Experimental filmmaking is always a risk and should not be discouraged. It's given us every advance in the medium for a century. It is a bit worrisome, however, when experimental film appears so similar to the work of a current master. Let's hope that's just the first step in the process of developing filmmakers. This one also acts as a reminder that turning poetry into actual images often defeats the purpose of the written words.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An Artistic Experiment, Appropriate For The Subject Matter

Author: gavin6942 from United States
23 January 2015

The different parts of C.K. Williams' life told through his poems. His childhood, his teens, college years, to when he meets and marries his wife, Catherine (Mila Kunis) and the birth of his children. The film is narrated by different versions of Williams (Franco, Hopper, March, Unger), depicting the different aspects of Williams through the years.

Williams is not a household name, and probably not even well-known to many academics. Although he has won the Pulitzer Prize and countless other awards for his poetry and translations of classic literature, his field of study earns accolades but little notice. Maybe this is proper, or maybe it says something about the appreciation of the arts.

Anyway, "Color of Time" (which has also been shown under the titles "Tar" and "Forever Love") was written and directed by twelve New York University film students. Much like the poetry it brings to life, there are numerous segments from the various writers and directors, and not all of them necessarily go together as a coherent narrative.

This film is bound to get bad reviews. Not because it is a bad film, but because it may not be evident to viewers what to expect. A casual viewer will walk through Family Video and see James Franco, Mila Kunis and Jessica Chastain, perhaps assuming this is some sort of romantic comedy. It is not. At all. This is poetry put to film, a moving form of art. Judging it by any other standard would be wrong, though inevitably it will be judged by its entertainment value -- something it does not claim to have.

Franco is, of course, very appropriately cast. One suspects that when he was asked to play Williams, he jumped at the chance. His career is littered with portrayals of great writers, making him something of a go-to guy in that niche market. Bruce Campbell has a nice cameo as, appropriately enough, a Detroit native. Not sure how he got involved...

Anyway, this is a great film if watched by the right people, those who love art and poetry. This is, in the end, an "art film" in the best sense of the (often derided) term. See it to understand a poet as told by a poet... and perhaps while you are at it, go pick up one of Williams' books from your local library.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A fragmented portrayal of a sensible artist

Author: Rodrigo Amaro ( from São Paulo, Brazil
2 June 2014

11 directors assemble to present an interesting concept based on the autobiographical works of writer C.K. Williams, creating an unusual cine biography of the writer, played by James Franco (as an adult) and Henry Hopper (as a teenage). A road movie that chronicles important passages of Williams life and his views on his own past, present and future. Since I don't know anything of Williams productions neither about his life, I can only analyze the movie for what it brought to the table. I think the idea works, from time to time, but it could be better developed with another character, another artist (Greenaway's "Darwin" is a fascinating example of a fragmented portrayal of a historic figure).

"Tar" doesn't disappoint, though it can leave some audiences confused about the real purpose of the movie, or confused about the constant flashbacks which expose the many experiences of Williams. It's built in the same fashion of "The Tree of Life" (coincidentally or not, Jessica Chastain plays a caring mother of the 1950's once again) but without the same visual splendor and beauty of Malick's masterpiece, despite the marvelous locations and poetic voice overs. I loved the way the "story" moved, quietly and with patience to absorb everything (despite its lack of profoundity), and I enjoyed the acting from the whole cast - though I couldn't figure out what Zach Braff was doing with his tiny part as Williams friend. A good poetic rendition that works as long as you can connect with the artists and the environment envisioned by him. Fans of the author may enjoy it more cause they know his words and can compare if they translate well to the screen. 6/10

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Another form of Ekphrasia

Author: gradyharp from United States
14 December 2014

First things first: for those unfamiliar with the work of Pulitzer Prize winning poet CK Williams, the following may be helpful – 'CK Williams is especially known as an original stylist; his characteristic line is extraordinarily long, almost prose-like, and emphasizes characterization and dramatic development. His early work focused on overtly political issues such as the Vietnam War and social injustice. In his later work, Williams has shifted from a documentary style toward a more introspective approach, writing descriptive poems that reveal the states of alienation, deception, and occasional enlightenment that exist between public and private lives in modern urban America.' That this film is a project created by James Franco's class is another aspect of Franco's individuality in exploring all aspects of the arts. That it will not find a large audience is not so much the film as the concept that few viewers wish to become involved in a small introspective experimental film, preferring the big epics and apocalyptic ventures and coarse humor movies as escapes form reality. James Franco is a unique actor – quite gifted and wiling to take on difficult biographies (he has portrayed Allen Ginsberg, Hart Crane and others). Give him credit for paying homage to CK Williams.

The Color of Time is based on Pulitzer prize-winning poet CK Williams' collection of the same name. The film blends together adaptations of 11 of the poems to create a poetic road trip through CK William's life. The film takes us on a journey through several decades of American life from CK's childhood and adolescence in Detroit in the 1940s and 50s to the early 1980s: CK and his wife Catherine are married with their son Jed. CK prepares for a reading of 'Tar' in New York City, and spends his nights struggling to write new poems, haunted by memories of his past. As CK drives to his reading in New York City, he remembers central moments of his life: we come to experience and understand both his relationship to love and loss, and how he found his calling as a poet through the women in his life. The film takes us back and forth between past and present, punctuated by voice-over from CK Williams' poems, recreating the experience of memory and exploring how the fragments of one's man life can be turned into poetic expression: his loving relationship to his mother, his first sexual experiences as a teenager, his first love and the struggle to preserve a form of innocence and wonder, the illness and loss of a close friend, and finally his life together with Catherine.

The cast, though not individually used extensively includes Franco as CK Williams, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Zach Braff, Henry Hopper, Bruce Campell among many other bit parts. The music by Garth Neustadter and Daniel Wohl, contributes significantly and for a class project the 'directors and writers' deliver a moody quiet exploration of the genius of CK Williams. A bit of understanding on the part of the audience will result in a gently ekphrastic exercise.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

What maybe perhaps one of the most boring movies I've ever seen.

Author: Amari-Sali from
5 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Often times when I decide on a movie to watch, I only look to see who is in it and look at the poster since I fear all the good bits will be in the trailer. After all, most movies nowadays do feel a bit oversold due to how good their trailers are. But with James Franco, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain and Zach Braff, my hopes were high to the point I didn't even read the synopsis. I jumped in expecting a quirky tale and a fun ride.

Characters & Story

Imagine you are in college and your slightly accomplished "Introduction to Poetry" teacher had the lesson plan based off all his work. And rather than lead the class through a spirited journey filled with discussion and awe, instead he decides to focus on stroking his own ego as he speaks in a monotone voice. That is the general feel as we follow C.K. Williams (James Franco) through his life.


Honestly, outside of watching C.K. Williams with wife Catherine (Mila Kunis), or his younger self with Irene (Danika Yarosh), in which we are presented these cute romantic little stories, there isn't much to praise.


To start off, the use of C.K. Williams' poetry for the narrative I think was a bad move since, for me, his poetry is that boring stuff you are force fed throughout your academic career. It is the type of writing people with doctorates in English find deep and amazing, or something which touched them on some deep level, and yet as you sit in class and listen to them read, you simply don't get it.

What doesn't help though is that we go back and forth from the older Williams (Franco) to his younger versions and the film's tone very much reminded me of the feeling you would have if you were tipsy or high. Everything feels muddled and lacking of any type of excitement and, while you can recognize something is happening, nothing is said or done to snap you out of this daze. This is despite the sounds of children laughing, Kunis and Franco portraying what looks like a cute relationship, and surely being part of a film of someone who perhaps might actually be interesting. Though you would never guess watching this.

Overall: Skip It

Somehow, despite barely being over an hour, this movie felt so long. Which truly is a testament to how bad this movie is. And I don't really fault the actors involved, per se, but just looking at the plethora of writers and directors involved on IMDb, you can definitely tell that there may have been too many cooks in the kitchen with this one. Though this film making me sleepier than drinking all night is the main reason this is being labeled "Skip It." For unless you are the type who likes background noise while you sleep, I don't see why you would waste your time on this film.

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