The Interview

James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview

Like an Inspector Clouseau party that’s forgotten to invite Peter Sellers, The Interview has a gigantic gaping hole where the comedy should be. Unsure if it’s a satire on modern entertainment or a Get Smart-style caper comedy set in the People’s Republic of North Korea, it squats uneasily between the two, leaving its game bromantic stars, James Franco and Seth Rogen, mouthing like beached fish in one unfunny set-up after another. The film arrives after the most brilliantly organised bit of internet brouhaha since The Blair Witch Project. First, Sony’s servers were hacked by the North Koreans, angry at the prospect of a film about an assassination attempt on the Dear Leader. The film … Read more

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Andy Serkis (possibly) and James Franco in Rise of the Planet of the Apes

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one       12 July     Julius Caesar born, 100BC Most people have some inkling about the death of Julius Caesar – “et tu, Brute” etc – but he was born too, so it seems. In the year 100BC, on this day, to a family of patricians who already bore the cognomen Julia – descendants of the mythical Iulus (or so they liked to say) aka Ascanius, king of Alba Longa, son of Trojan hero Aeneas. Julius Caesar’s given name was Gaius, his family name Julius, the cognomen or family nickname Caesar – because one of his ancestors was … Read more

Movies About Charles Bukowski

Matt Dillon and Lili Taylor in Factotum

    The news that James Franco is directing a film about gravel-voiced, pock-faced author Charles Bukowski, the go-to man for closet writers, bedroom tough guys and incipient alcoholics, reminds us that there have been several shots on goal before. Franco has a double obstacle – films about writing are inherently uncinematic, and films that rely on an authorial voice that’s ironic but utterly deadpan are also in choppy water. So Franco is concentrating on how Bukowski’s early years – abused at home, disfigured by acne – affected his later life. Perhaps Franco is buoyed up by the success of his portrayal of another writer, Allen Ginsberg. Or perhaps not. This is not … Read more