Tag Archives: James Franco

127 Hours (2010) Film Review *Spoiler alert*

James Franco plays the self-absorbed adventurer Aron Ralston who, without telling anyone, goes running across a desert and through canyons in Utah only to get his arm trapped under a boulder. He spends 127 hours attempting to free himself, keeping a sporadic video diary, before having an epiphany about his life, cutting off his trapped arm and saving himself.

I say spoiler alerts, but I think almost everyone who sees this film knows in advance that he cuts off his arm. It’s a good film, though I wasn’t totally drawn in. I don’t know if it is just because I knew he was going to be fine, or because I found him really annoying and didn’t really care how he got through. That’s a bit harsh – it was interesting the way his demise was treated, and certainly the way he cut his arm off was fascinating – certainly I couldn’t have even figured out how to do it, much less performing the actual act. But then, I can’t see any situation where I will end up with my arm trapped by a boulder. Touch wood.

127 Hours was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (James Franco), Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy), Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score, best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song (If I Rise)

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Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut – Audio Book Review

Read by James Franco

I had no idea what this book was about, just that I’ve been meaning to read it for years. I knew it was a classic, and I knew it was about war. I did not expect time travelling or aliens or… well, any of that. And wow. It’s pretty hard to describe this book succinctly, but it’s about the bombing of Dresden, about a group of American soldiers who were prisoners of ware and were there for the aftermath, about a man trying to write about it and then… yes, aliens and time travel and etc. etc.

Initially, I was disappointed that it was read by James Franco. He’s okay, but I found his voice a bit monotonous. But, as it went, I found that his voice was prefect for this text – it had the resigned tone of someone who has lived through hell and needs to tell of it, but also kind of can’t. The only issue I had with it as an audio book was I couldn’t get a strong sense of the structure of the story, but I still really loved it.

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Why Him? (2016) Film Review

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You know this story. It’s been done a million times. Girl meets boy, father doesn’t like boy, boy tries to impress father, even they win each other over and everyone is happy (Spoiler alert? Is it? It’s just so formulaic, I don’t think it can count as a spoiler). In this case, the girl is Stephanie (Zoey) a beautiful college student who is extremely close to her father. The boy is Laird (James Franco), the rough-as-guts-but-very-hot founder of a tech company – complete with heaps of swearing, tattoos and wearing very few clothes. The father is Ned (Bryan Cranston) who comes from his conservative home with his wife Barb (Megan Mullally) and teenager son Scotty (Griffin Gluck) to meet this new man in his daughter’s life. Of course, Ted can’t accept Laird for his little girl and hilarity ensues.

The big question – is it funny. Yes. Yes, I really liked this film. It didn’t matter that the story is as old as the hills, somehow, this really worked. One part that worked well was the fact that the key aspect is not played up too much – yes, if Laird was a poor guy living in squalor, he wouldn’t stand a chance. But he didn’t need to be that wealthy – that was kind of just a bonus. I felt that I could easily see a fairly conservative father meeting a tattooed, swearing man and reacting in similar ways. Then, there is the quality of the cast – Bryan Cranston is great at physical comedy (go watch Malcolm in the Middle if you don’t get it), but he is also great at being understated. James Franco was great as this innocent dumbarse who is actually not dumb, but actually quite naïve and sweet, but it’s hard to see that past all the swearing and inappropriate sexy-talk. Megan Mullally is wonderful at whatever she does, I really have never been let down by that woman. And add to that the hilarious Keegan-Michael Key for bonus comic effect.

Bryan Cranston was the one thing that I thought could be the saving grace of this film, and I was pleased to be surprised overall by a fun and silly film.

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Freaks and Geeks – TV Review

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This cult television series, produced by Judd Apatow (This is 40, Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old-Virgin) created by Paul Feig (The Heat and Bridesmaids) based on his life as a geek in high school in the eighties.

There’s Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini), a student who is strong academically, but just not happy with the life being a Mathlete and a geek, and tries to fit in with the freaks – Daniel Desario (James Franco), Ken Miller (Seth Rogen), Nick Andopolis (Jason Segel) and Kim Kelly (Busy Phillips). Meanwhile, Lindsay’s younger brother Sam (John Francis Daley) is a mega geek, with his mates Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr) and Neal Schweiber (Samm Levine). They deal with a lot of the typical issues of these coming of age shows –but in a unique and often quite hilarious way.

This show has been just out of reach for me for some time, mentioned in interviews, with so many people in the cast who have gone on to success both in film and on television. Finally, I got to it and I got through the whole lot in a couple of massive binge sessions. If you haven’t seen it, get to it.

 

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This Is the End (2013) Film Review

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It’s a celebrity party at James Franco’s house and everyone is famous and beautiful. There’s drink and drugs and ridiculous singalongs, and what more could you want? Oh, how about The Rapture, The End of Days, Apocalypse? Yup, all the good people have been taken, yet none of the celebrities at the party have gone. And then things get nasty.

I thought this film would be pretty rubbishy, with a few laughs and a lot of groans. And it was, but it was awesome! Dumb, stupid, ridiculous, and extremely funny. Ha!

 

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) Film Review

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Will (James Franco) has been trialling a new drug to combat the effects of Alzheimer’s, testing it on gorillas. His boss, Steven (David Oyelowo) is concerned with making money, but when one of the treated animals appears to go crazy and get quite violent, Steven pulls the plug. There is a little baby, Caesar (who later is played by Andy Serkis with a whole bunch of special effects), who Will takes home to his father, Charles (John Lithgow), who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and Caesar is very smart, having had the effects of the drug pass down from his mother. When his renegade use of the drug on his father stops working, Will develops another without realising the danger of it. Meanwhile, Caesar has gone all protective on the evil neighbour who was hassling Charles and ended up in an unpleasant facility run by John (Brian Cox) and Dodge (Tom Felton). Caesar has come to understand that he is not human, and he gathers an army to find his home.

Phew. It’s a big plot, really, and I haven’t even covered it all. There are some truly shocking lines in the story (I think my favourite was “You know everything about the brain except how it works”) and parts are pretty cheesy. But overall, I really enjoyed it, I enjoyed the way the characters interacted and it has set itself up for the sequel, the recently released Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Special Effects.

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Date Night (2010) Film Review

Date Night

Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire (Tina Fey) have been married for some time, have small children, and find that they barely have energy to have their date nights, even though they clearly enjoy each other’s company. But when close friends tell them they are splitting, news that strikes out of the blue, they decide to make a big effort and go into town (New York, that’s the town) for a special dinner. When they can’t get a table at an exclusive restaurant, they pinch someone elses reservation. Hint: if you are going to do this, make sure that the people who’s reservation you take are not attempting to bribe anyone, and you don’t spend the night on the run for your life. Even if you do end up spending time with a shirtless Marky Mark.

I love Steve Carell, I love Mark Wahlberg and I especially love Tina Fey. How could I not love this film? It’s funny, ridiculous, but mostly extremely funny. And I could watch it over and over. Just ace times.

 

 

 

 

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