Plot: Jimmy (Jack Reynor) was just released from prison and comes home to his father Hal (Dennis Quaid) and his adoptive brother Eli (Myles Truitt). Things are tense between Jimmy and Hal. Meanwhile Eli sticks to his routine of scavenging in abandoned buildings, looking for copper. Instead he finds dead bodies and a mysterious weapon. That weapon might be just the thing that could help Jimmy settle old debts with his former employer. But Eli isn’t the only one who knows that it exists.
Kin is a confused film that doesn’t really know what it wants to say. Despite a couple of good things, it ultimately doesn’t convince.
Plot: Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) dreams of being an actor and making it big. In one of his acting classes, he meets Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). Tommy is a strange guy, but Greg is struck by his mysterious charisma and generall weirdness. They become unlikely friends. And since Tommy seems to have a lot of money, he can offer Greg a chance that he wouldn’t otherwise get: they should go to Hollywood together, stardom is sure to follow. But when it doesn’t, Tommy makes a new plan: he will make a film himself for them and then their film is going to make them famous.
The Disaster Artist is fun to watch, at least if you can take a huge James Franco ego project, because that’s what it is, too. Mostly it’s a good story that kept me glued to the screen.
Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) works behind the scenes in the porn industry, a job that brings him in contact with Roy Demeo (Ray Liotta) who sees potential in Richard and promptly hires him as a contract killer. Richard takes to this new job with a sense of professionalism that includes keeping it very far away from his wife Deborah (Winona Ryder) and kids. But mob politics aren’t easy to navigate and Richard can’t make everybody happy at all times.
I didn’t expect much from this film, but despite a lengthy second half and some seriously atrocious 70s hair, it drew me in, mostly thanks to a magnetic Michael Shannon.
Jim (Nat Wolff) just joined a political party who’s goal it is to empower workers. There he meets the charismatic and politically experienced Mac (James Franco) who takes him under his wing. Together they make their way to a fruit plantation where they hope to instigate a strike without the workers noticing that that’s what they came there to do. When they hear about a case where a plantation owner (Robert Duvall) reduced the workers’ pay from 3 to 1 Dollar, they know they have their in.
In Dubious Battle profits from Steinbeck’s strength as a writer and an absolutely stellar cast that makes the film worth seeing even though Franco directing Franco is not the best thing to ever happen.
Ned (Bryan Cranston), his wife Barb (Megan Mullally) and their son Scotty (Griffin Gluck) have been invited to spend Christmas with their daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) and her new boyfriend Laird (James Franco). When they meet Laird, though, Barb and particularly Ned are taken aback. Laird is filthy rich, but he is also very eccentric and has trouble with respecting personal boundaries. What’s even worse: he obviously wants to ask Stephanie to marry him soon. Can Ned learn to like and accept Laird?
Why Him? is pretty much exactly how you expect it to be: it’s filled with immature humor, very problematic in some places, but put altogether it could have been way worse than it was.
Plot: Sean Paul Lockhart (Garrett Clayton) comes to L.A., meets producer Stephen (Christian Slater) and quickly finds himself a rising star in the gay porn scene under the name of Brent Corrigan. Life is good for a while, but when Sean tries to get out from under Stephen’s thumb, he finds ironclad contracts and practically no wiggle room. When he is approached by Harlow (Keegan Allen) and Joe (James Franco) about making a film together, he hopes to find help to get out of those contracts. But that help might look very different from what Sean had in mind.
King Cobra was entertaining enough, but also very problematic at some points. It makes time pass quickly, but could have profited from a less sensationalizing take.
The Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) moves into a new neigborhood with her Mother (Rachel McAdams). Her Mother is a hard worker and she has big plans for the Girl, plans that need her to work very hard to achieve them. The Girl is motivated. But there’s also her strange neighbor, the Aviator (Jeff Bridges). The Aviator tells her the story of The Little Prince (Riley Osborne) whom he met many years ago. Bit by bit, the Aviator and his stories become more important to the Girl than her Mother’s plans.
The Little Prince is not so much an adaptation of the original novella as an extension and an expansion of it (you could say that it’s fan fiction). It’s a beautifully crafted film that harnesses the original message and reinforces the capitalism critique in it. I loved it.
Plot: Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman) really doesn’t care about getting married, which puts her rather at odds with British society. She was one of the few women who were allowed to study at university, which gives her family an excuse to send her traveling. So Gertrude travels to the Ottoman Empire. With every passing year Gertrude becomes more independent until finally she defies all social norms and starts traveling the desert, really getting to know the area and its people, acquiring insights no other British person was able to get.
Queen of the Desert can be summarized with “Orientalism the Movie”. It’s flabbergasting that such an unquestioned imperialistic view on the Middle East could still make it on the screen today. We should all know better by now.
Tomas (James Franco) is trying to write his newest book. That attempt includes staying in a trailer on a frozen lake and hours of driving around the countryside, leading to more than one fight with his girlfriend Sara (Rachel McAdams). On one of his drives, Tomas hits and kills a little boy, which leaves both him and the boy’s mother Kate (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and brother Christopher (Jack Fulton/Philippe Vanasse-Paquet/Robert Naylor) reeling. Will every thing ever be fine for them again?
Every Thing Will Be Fine is a calm, beautiful movie that manages to be completely intimate, despite spanning several years and some rather difficult topics. I really loved it.
George (James Franco) and Lenny (Chris O’Dowd) are a team, working as hired hands on farms. But Lenny, who has a mental disability, got them fired from their last job when his attempt to pet the skirt of a girl was mistaken for a sexual assault. They had to leave in a hurry, but have found a new job already, which starts off well enough with their coworkers Candy (Jim Norton) and Slim (Jim Parrack), and less well with their boss Curly (Alex Morf) and his flirty wife (Leighton Meester). George and Lenny are dreaming of buying a bit of land together and becoming independent – a dream that suddenly becomes very attainable when Candy offers to pitch in. But attainable isn’t the same as attained and money isn’t the only issue.
This version of Of Mice and Men really was a very straightforward production that focused on making the characters and their actors shine. And shine they did.