January 01, 2015

Tag Archives: james franco

Audiences are missing out on a funny film in Seth Rogen’s “The Interview”

I’m sure by now all of you are aware of the massive hacking situation going on over at Sony. Sadly, there’s a cinematic casualty in Seth Rogen’s The Interview. Rogen’s sophomore feature (he co-writes and co-directs with filmmaking partner Evan Goldberg) was already screening for press, myself included, and was getting set for a Christmas release, but that’s no more. The powers that be at Sony have decided to cancel the release of the movie, which is a shame on multiple levels. For one thing, it’s sort of letting the terrorists win (though I’ll stop myself from going on a rant). More simply however, its preventing audiences from seeing one of 2014’s funniest films, and that’s a real shame.
Having been one of the few to actually see the flick, I can vouch for how amusing it is. Though not quite as hilarious as Rogen’s prior outing This Is The End, The Interview is still a laugh riot, with a high concept to boot. Rogen co-stars, co-writes, and co-directs (Goldberg co-writes and directs, with Dan Sterling also working on the script) in the movie, which also features James Franco, Lizzy Caplan, and Randall Park, just to name a few. The story surrounds a talk show host (Franco) and his producer (Rogen) who score an interview with the leader of North Korea (Park). When this becomes public knowledge, the CIA and one of its agents (Caplan) recruit the two to pull off an assassination. What follows is often ridiculous, never PC, and almost always hilarious. It’s easily one of the five funniest films of the year. Of course, it could be some time before anyone finds that out.
The Interview is obviously not coming out this Christmas now, but when might it actually come out? Well, Sony has already announced that they currently have no plans to put it out on VOD or direct to Blu-Ray/DVD, so my best guess is that they’re going to wait a few months and then actually try to release it theatrically again. It’s either that or literally never releasing something they spent tens of millions of dollars on and know they can make a profit on. As such, perhaps even as soon as February, we might see the flick come out. If not, it might be over the summer. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of it though. I certainly hope so, at least.
Now, this […]

Joaquin Phoenix: Oscar veterans hoping for another nomination this year

Each and every single awards season, there are tons of both newcomers and veterans to the Oscar game. Tomorrow I’ll be taking a bit of a look at those seeking their first nominations from the Academy, but today I’m going to be going ahead and listing some of the major players who’ve already been nominated before, and in some cases are already winners. It’s leading up to me re-ranking the contenders in the major categories next week, but right now it’s just going to be a preview of which old hands to the Oscar ranch are saddling up for another ride on the awards season pony.
In the Best Actor race, the highest profile former nominee is Joaquin Phoenix, who will look for his first win this year with Inherent Vice. He represents the most likely non first time nominee who could win the Oscar in this category, though one level down we have Bradley Cooper for American Sniper and Bill Murray for St. Vincent, with Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler and Brad Pitt for Fury as other possibilities, plus Ben Affleck, who I’m counting here since he’s an Oscar winner, even if he’s never received an acting citation to date. Longer shots for nominations who’ve been to the dance before include Christian Bale for Exodus: Gods and Kings, Ralph Fiennes for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Philip Seymour Hoffman for A Most Wanted Man, Matthew McConaughey for Interstellar, Al Pacino for Manglehorn, Jeremy Renner for Kill the Messenger, and Mark Walhberg for The Gambler. Those fellas will be fighting it out with a bunch of first timers in this category, and it’s going to be a bloodbath.
Over in Best Actress, we have perennial bridesmaid Amy Adams hoping that this year she’ll finally be the bride with her work in Big Eyes. She’s going to be getting a challenge from both Jessica Chastain (for either The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Miss Julie, or A Most Violent Year) and Reese Witherspoon for Wild though. One level down you have Julianne Moore for Still Alice and Meryl Streep for Into the Woods, with other former nominees/winner on the hunt including Marion Cotillard for The Immigrant or Two Days One Night, Keira Knightley for Begin Again, Hilary Swank for The Homesman, Kate Winslet for A Little Chaos, and Robin Wright for The Congress. The newbies could seriously vie for a win here, but the vets have […]

Spotlight on the Stars: James Franco

Howdy ladies and gentleman For this week’s spotlight piece, I wanted to go ahead and take a look at a rather unique A-lister. Someone who vacillates between humongous Hollywood blockbusters and odd little independent films, always doing his own thing. The A-lister in question? None other than James Franco. He’s many things to many people, but he’s unquestionably a star. He’s given a few incredibly good performances, but he’s never a boring actor to watch. He’s easily one of Tinseltown’s most interesting actors to follow. Almost constantly engaging in some form of art, Franco is at his core, just that…an artist. He may be a bit of a weirdo to some, but he’s an A-lister regardless and deserves this tribute.
Franco wasn’t always considered a “weird” star. He got his start basically as a heartthrob. He first came on to people’s radars when he was cast in the cult Judd Apatow television show Freaks and Geeks, though he became someone to really watch when he played James Dean in the TV movie of the same name. From there, he shot to the A-list by playing Harry Osborne in the Spider-Man trilogy from Sam Raimi. In Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3 he built up his star power, but at the same time he was trying to become a leading man in things like Annapolis, City by the Sea, Flyboys, The Great Raid, and Tristan + Isolde. Between those movies and the Spidey trilogy, he was someone you expected to be a serious actor. That made his comedic turn (a Golden Globe nominated one, at that) in The Pineapple Express all the more interesting. From there, he began to branch out even more, playing Alan Ginsberg in Howl, taking an acclaimed supporting role in Milk, and of course his Oscar nominated tour de force in 127 Hours.
He has since made a name for himself by trying just about anything once. After he made his debut guest starring on television programs in the late 90’s, Franco has gone on to amass nearly 100 roles to his credit. It goes well over 100 when you factor in that in addition to acting, he’s an author, a director, an editor, a producer, and a screenwriter as well. He’s even done the cinematography for one of his filmmaking projects. Lately, between bigger flicks like Oz the Great and Powerful, Rise of the Planet of the […]

Jonah Hill: Spotlight on the Stars

For this week’s spotlight piece, I wanted to take a look at a bit of a new A-lister, and that happens to be Jonah Hill. For some, he’s just another Judd Apatow guy, but realistically, he’s much more than that. He’s branched out on his own with a rather hilarious comedy franchise that began with 21 Jump Street and continues this weekend with 22 Jump Street (he also co-wrote both in addition to starring). He’s also gone the drama route and both times been rewarded with Academy Award nominations (for Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street), so he’s got some serious bonafides these days. You have to look at him as a member of the A list now, and someone who very well might be on their way to winning an Oscar before long.
Hill has worked with an impressive assortment of filmmakers so far in his career. That list includes the likes of Judd Apatow, David Gordon Green, Phil Lord/Christopher Miller, Bennett Miller, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino. You probably never would have guessed that the guy who got his start playing second fiddle in films like Accepted would become one of more in demand actors in Hollywood. It just goes to show where real dedication and hard work can get you.
If you actually look at his work, he’s show more range than he’s given credit for. The types of performances he gives in movies like 21 Jump Street (along with 22 Jump Street on Friday, which is just as good, trust me there), Funny People, Knocked Up, and Superbad are tremendous, but they’re very different than what he’s shown us in Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street. Especially with that latter performance, he was able to seamlessly blend comedy and drama, which is the way he’s going to one day win that statue, likely in the Best Supporting Actor category that he’s gotten a pair of citations in already.
Overall, Hill is a genius comic actor with some stunningly good dramatic chops as well. He’s got the very amusing 22 Jump Street opening in a few days and later this year he’ll make another play at awards with the drama True Story, co-starring James Franco. He’ll likely continue to mix and match between comedy and drama, which is perfectly fine in my book. I greatly look forward to watching Hill continue to grow as an actor and […]

UPDATE: Leonard Klady Expelled From LAFCA – Los Angeles Film Critics Association

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
What is it about film critics these days?
First, the New York Film Critics Circle ousts long-time film reviewer Armond White after he reportedly heckled Steve McQueen, the director of “12 Years a Slave,” at an awards dinner earlier this year. White denied the heckling but the story went viral.
Now, on the opposite coast, Leonard Klady, a box office analyst for the website Movie City News, has been expelled from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association after an attempt to get sponsors for the group’s annual awards dinner triggered a lawsuit.
The Klady story broke earlier this week when Deadline.com reported that Klady was given the boot “over an unauthorized agreement he’d made on behalf of LAFCA to third party consultant Sheri Wish, who was contracted for $3000 to bring in sponsorships for LAFCA’s annual award dinner last January. Wish failed to deliver any sponsorships at all.”
Deadline wrote that when LAFCA rejected Wish’s request to be paid, she sued.
Klady told Deadline that there was “no malfeasance” and that he was working “in my role as the chairman of the awards committee and the person who I engaged was recommended by a reputable person in the industry.”
The case was settled out of court with Wish receiving $1000 from the film critics’ group and $1000 from Klady.
HollywoodNews contacted the vendor but she declined to be interviewed. Klady could not be immediately reached for comment by HollywoodNews.
But Stephen Farber, LAFCA’s president and a film critic for the Hollywood Reporter, told HollywoodNews on Friday that his group voted to expel Klady because “he had caused the organization to be sued. He took action on his own with this woman that was not really something that was authorized by the group. He didn’t tell (LAFCA’s officers) or anybody else that he had assigned this contract.”
On Thursday, Klady had told Deadline he had been blindsided by his expulsion. He explained: “It was a misunderstanding as a result of a contract for service. When the service was not provided, rather than drag it through the court system, we settled it. I offered to settle the entire thing myself and I was told they didn’t want to do that. I paid $1000 and the organization paid $1000.” Klady also told Deadline that he was never made aware of the closed-door meeting where the vote over his expulsion was held, nor given a chance to defend […]

Thinking Out Loud: Who Could/Should Direct Ghostbusters III?

For this weekend’s edition of Thinking Out Loud, I only really have one topic in mind, and it’s on the direction of the Ghostbusters franchise. With the recent passing of Harold Ramis and the even more recent announcement that Ivan Reitman won’t be directing the in development sequel/reboot, I’ve been thinking about who might be best suited for the job. Bill Murray already is almost assuredly not going to be involved and Dan Aykroyd mostly is helping shape the script and will be a supporting player at best, so this is an opportunity to take the concept in a potentially new direction…
If I were in charge of offering the job to whatever filmmakers I desired, these would be the six (or technically eight, but you’ll see what I mean in a moment) that I’d be wining and dining. The half dozen different choices represent some unique takes on the material, but I think they’d all be successful candidates:
-Judd Apatow – For a few years now I’ve secretly hoped that at the very least Apatow would help produce a Ghostbusters movie. His stable of friends/actors seem perfectly suited to become wisecracking paranormal exterminators. You could have any combination of Jay Baruchel, Michael Cera, James Franco (maybe), Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, and Martin Starr in the roles, and that’s a solid recipe for comedy in my eyes. Apatow probably isn’t too interested in this gig, but I really wish he would be.
-Joe Cornish – I may not have loved Attack the Block, but in some ways Cornish’s film is almost a calling card for this type of studio project. He could make a rather unique mark. I’d think that he’d be a less likely pick because of his relative lack of experience, but if Godzilla turns out to be a big success, I could see Cornish following in the footsteps of Gareth Edwards and getting a big franchise to play with.
-Duncan Jones – A darker choice to be sure, but anyone who follows Jones on Twitter knows that he has a sense of humor as well. He’s certainly elevate the franchise and make it a real legitimate “film” as opposed to a comedy tent pole, but isn’t everything supposed to be darker and grittier anyway? He’s another less than likely candidate, but I’d hope that his name is at least floated about.
-Phil Lord and […]

James Franco’s OZ will bring $70 million plus

Critics are divided about Sam Raimi’s “Oz, the Great and Powerful.” But audiences love it. Last night, “Oz” took in more than $24.1 million. For the weekend, it will bring in $70 million plus. That includes rotten weather on the east coast last night, so today and tonight may be bigger than thought. “Oz” is coming to a third biggest ever March opening.
Bravo! The movie looks great, and the actors are all terrific starting with James Franco and the three witches–Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, and Mila Kunis. Moreover, Disney has ordered up the sequel. I don’t know what some people thought the movie would be–the actual “Wizard of Oz” cannot be duplicated and no one tried to do it. The movie was made in 1938, kids. That this “Oz” approximated its charm in a modern way is the accomplishment.
For those who want to see Franco in a less conventional role, wait til you see him in “Spring Breakers.” Harmony Korine’s wild saga is a week away. Franco is a rapper-drug dealer into three-ways. He steals the movie from all the so- called “kids.” A couple of white rappers are already say they inspired his look. But the character is all original, and very adult. In “Spring Breakers,” we are not in Kansas anymore.
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Photos from the Moscow premiere of OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

Director Sam Raimi, James Franco, Michelle Williams, and Mila Kunis were all in attendance on February 27th at the Oktyabr Multiplex in Moscow.
Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting.
Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well.

“Oz The Great and Powerful” is produced by Joe Roth, with screen story by Mitchell Kapner and screenplay by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire. Grant Curtis, Palak Patel, Josh Donen and Philip Steuer are serving as executive producers.

“Oz The Great and Powerful” opens in U.S. theaters on March 8, 2013.

James Franco Named Grand Marshal for 55th Annual Daytona 500

James Franco, star of the Disney fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” which is scheduled for release on March 8, will serve as Grand Marshal for the 55th running of the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Daytona International Speedway. The race is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on FOX and will also be broadcasted on FOX Deportes, MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
Franco will give the starting command, “Drivers start your engines,” in “The Great American Race.” He’ll also be introduced at the driver’s meeting, participate in pre-race ceremonies and ride in one of the Grand Marshal cars during the pace laps prior to the green flag of the 200-lap, 500-mile race.
“We’re excited to welcome James Franco and have him take part in the pre-race festivities for the Daytona 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “In front of thousands of race fans and millions more watching on FOX, we’re looking forward to hearing James’ enthusiastic starting command to kick off the Daytona 500 and the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.”
“Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting.
Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must
find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well.
Joe Roth produced “Oz The Great and Powerful,” with screen story by Mitchell Kapner and screenplay by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire.
Franco will next be seen in Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers.” His credits include “127 Hours,” in which he received a Best Actor Oscar® nomination, “ the “Spider-Man” trilogy, “Milk,” “Pineapple Express” and most recently “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”
Franco joins the prestigious list of previous Daytona 500 Grand Marshals including John Travolta, […]

Why I might owe Disney a slight apology – OZ: the Great and Powerful

This banner dropped awhile ago, but I never got around to posting it so I’m using it at the top for convenience. After the jump you’ll get the four character posters that dropped on Friday but officially dropped from Disney on Monday. In my essay last week about The Little Mermaid 3D, I included this film as a Disney property that was technically targeting boys but had female appeal. I still stand by that statement, as the film is clearly James Franco’s journey.
But it must be stated that the film also has three major female characters, all played by actresses of note and at least one of them playing something other than the love interest (I’m presuming some misdirection with Mila Kunis being revealed as the main ‘wicked witch’). It doesn’t mean I don’t think the film looks a little iffy or that Franco seems to be attempting to give a bad performance, but it does mean that we’ll get a major would-be tent pole where the major female characters outnumber the major male ones. That frankly doesn’t happen all that often so it deserves notice when it does.
Also of note is Michelle Williams’s role in this, as it represents the acclaimed actresses’s first tentpole appearance and her first major role in an overtly commercial picture since oh, Halloween: H20 in 1998 (you could say the superb Dick in 1999, but that flopped anyway). Yes I know she cameoed in Shutter Island and did a voice in Where the Wild Things Are, but you know what I mean! Anyway, the character posters are after the jump. And no, I will not be posting the 12-second teaser for this Sunday’s Super Bowl commercial.
to see more posters go to Mendelson’s Memos
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