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James Franco

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Review

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) The latest film from Joel and Ethan Coen was originally meant to be an anthology series for Netflix, but somewhere between its conception and the Venice Film Festival this year, it became a two-hour, six-part anthology film. On the surface, this treatment will turn some viewers off, and “disjointed” and “uneven” will […]

2014 Oscars: Don’t Forget About Us

2014 Oscars: Don’t Forget About Us

Films released in the first two thirds of a given year are automatically at a disadvantage when it comes to possible Oscar nominations. There are exceptions, of course—Beasts of the Southern Wild, Midnight in Paris, Winter’s Bone, for example—but the nature of campaigning rewards those films that don’t have to remain in voters’ minds very […]

Lovelace Review

Lovelace Review

RATING: (2 STARS) Ordinary vs. extraordinary. Linda Boreman was the former, but she found herself in the midst of a situation that was very much the latter. Lovelace is both the name Boreman would carry throughout her adult life and the title of the, unfortunately, very ordinary cinematic chronicle of her bizarre career and horrific […]

Spring Breakers Review

Spring Breakers Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers is perhaps the ultimate test (or, less hyperbolically, the ultimate test this year) of seeing the forest for the trees. Is Korine—an infamous boundary pusher whose first film was about an HIV-positive man deliberately infecting young women—saying something profound about our youth and culture with this would-be exploitation […]

The 2013 Cannes Lineup

The 2013 Cannes Lineup

Looking over the 2013 Cannes lineup, which was announced this morning, it’s hard to identify the “big story.” The Competition lineup contains a good mix of the expected and some pleasant surprises (Roman Polanski’s Venus in Furs being the most high-profile of those surprises). No stunning omissions or head-scratching inclusions. Just a rock-solid-sounding group of […]

Oz: The Great and Powerful Review

Oz: The Great and Powerful Review

RATING: (3 STARS) Fairy tale prequels, sequels, remakes, and reimaginings have been all the rage at the multiplex over the past few years. And while The Wizard of Oz isn’t exactly a fairy tale, comparing Oz: The Great and Powerful to films like Snow White and the Huntsman and Jack the Giant Slayer isn’t unreasonable. […]

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Who would have thought the worst titled movie of the summer would also be the best? But Rise of the Planet of Apes has it all. It’s a magnificent film with breathtaking special effects, exceptional pacing, and a ton of heart. Andy Serkis deserves an Oscar for his incredibly realistic, motion-capture portrayal […]

127 Hours Review

127 Hours Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours is an absolute triumph on every level imaginable. It’s difficult to sit through, but Boyle gives it the magic touch and turns this dark, disturbing story into something that’s ultimately hopeful and inspiring. It’s spectacularly directed—Boyle deserves another Oscar for his work—and brimming with the same energy that […]

Milk Review

Milk Review

RATING: (4 STARS) When “Milk” came out, Proposition 8 had just passed in California, outlawing gay marriage. It was a sad time among gay-rights supporters, and then a film like this comes along about the assassination of one of its heroes to remind us all that as far as we’ve come, we still have a […]

Date Night Review

Date Night Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) As I said in my review of The General, action comedies are hard to pull off. Usually a film focuses too much on forced laughter, which inevitably takes away from the action. A perfect example of this is Shawn Levy’s “Date Night,” a film that does both the comedy and the action […]