Psycho Nacirema at Pace London

Psycho Nacirema

Image from Psycho Nacirema © 2013, James Franco, courtesy Pace Gallery

James Franco is not your usual Hollywood actor. Not content with starring in blockbuster films, including Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, Franco is also studying for PhD, has taught at four different universities, and took on a recurring role in US soap General Hospital as a form of performance art. At the age of 35 James Franco has an intimidating academic and artistic scope.

For his latest artistic endeavour Franco has teamed up with Scottish artist Douglas Gordon to produce an exhibition inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and the 1920’s Arbuckle scandal entitled Psycho Nacirema and hosted at Pace London. The exhibition features a variety of multi-media installations which combine both the fictional drama and the real life tragedy. Aspects from the film such as the iconic neon sign and that shower scene are recreated and reinterpreted.

“Film is the medium that employs all art forms, but it is contained within the screen. We take this multi-form idea and pull it through the screen, so that the different forms are once again fully dimensional and a new nexus of interaction and significance is created. In this show, we go back to the original locations and images of Psycho and alter them so that once again the viewer’s relationship with the material changes. One becomes an actor when interacting with this work. Film becomes raw material and is sculpted into new work.” – James Franco, May 2013

As a fan of both James Franco and Psycho this exhibition intrigues me no end. Psycho Nacirema runs from 6th July 2013 until 3rd August 2013 and Pace London at 6-10 Lexington Street is open to the public from Monday to Saturday, from 10 AM to 6 PM:

Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Trailer & Concept Art

We’ve sat on a bit of Rise of the Planet of the Apes material for a while now and the latest international trailer seems like as good an excuse as any to share it with you.

What excites me about the new trailer is that it is the first glimpse at the more human side to the story, not just raging chimps but a son trying to cure his father (hello John Lithgow!). Who can argue against that? Then again you also have Tom Felton being evil for no good reason, probably just pissed that the Potter franchise is almost over.

Now look at all the seriously gorgeous concept art of Apes gone ape: Continue reading

Your Highness – Review

I was hoping that seeing Your Highness would present me with the perfect opportunity to write a really scathing review filled with ranting, exaggeration and maybe a bit of swearing, but I can’t. Your Highness isn’t that bad.

Despite the easy comparison Your Highness isn’t trying to be The Princess Bride, it isn’t even trying to parody classic fantasy quest-based films, all it is trying to do is be a broad comedy set in medieval times with plenty of jokes about sex, drugs and people swearing with bad British accents in the middle of speaking with an old English dialect. In trying to be this very specific type of comedy, Your Highness succeeds.

The film may not have been laugh a minute but it was amusing at times, and Danny McBride was offering up nothing different, for better or worse, to what viewers of Eastbound and Down expect from him week on week. The combined talents of Franco, Deschanel and Portman made the film easily watchable, even when director David Gordon Green wasn’t really trying.

A highlight was Rasmus Hardinker as McBride’s sidekick for offering up silly faces and dry wit in equal measure, and to the set designer who hadn’t been told this was just a comedy and the sets didn’t need to rival (and possible beat) Game of Thrones. It was also nice to see Damian Lewis in a larger role than I had expected.

Your Highness is a lot of fun and as a raunchy comedy works quite well. Not all of the jokes stem from sex or drugs and there is some intelligence if you listen hard enough. The only way the film really lets you down is if you are a fan of David Gordon Green’s early work, the beautiful and painfully indie All the Real Girls seems like the work of a much more mature and talented director.

If Your Highness doesn’t seem like your sort of film then it probably isn’t, but for me it fit right into the category of guilty pleasure and I am rightfully ashamed of that fact.

127 Hours – Review

Danny Boyle did good. 127 Hours is a tight film that fills its 94 minutes without a lull and keeps the energy high from the bouncy opening right through to amputation time, despite the main character remaining trapped under a rock for the majority of the film.

James Franco has stolen Ryan Reynolds’ “trapped actor easily carrying the film” crown as he gives he most convincing, and least bizarre, performance to date as Aron Ralston. In fact Franco’s slightly off kilter personality perfectly fits the isolated outdoorsman that goes running around rocky landscapes without telling anyone where he’s going.

The amputation scene itself is not an easy watch but is so well done it’s a crime to actually look away. The gore is not overplayed, though watching a man trying to get through a nerve is never going to be easy to stomach.

Boyle cleverly introduces the world from Aron’s point of view early on so it’s not too jarring when later on Aron’s hallucinations take over, a mixture of memories and “premonitions”. Of course through these hallucinations Aron learns something about himself, something he feels the need to awkwardly say out loud in the film’s only real weak moment. Of course you’re a fool for letting Clémence Poésy go.

127 Hours needs to be seen, and if you’re going to look away as he hacks his arm off I’d advise covering your ears too, that is one loud snap.

It’s so good I might finally watch Slumdog Millionaire.

127 Hours – Trailer

There has been a lot of excitement about 127 Hours, not all because Danny Boyle won that Oscar a few years back, but because of the fainting and vomiting that are rumoured to plague audiences.

The scenes that induce this aren’t in the trailer, it’s more of a build up to the moment when Franco’s arm gets stuck in some rocks. It is nice to see that not all of the movie will be him stuck between two rock walls, we get a bit of wild adventure and sexy parties first.

From what I’ve heard that’s pretty much Amber Tamblyn’s entire role in the film, sorry Joan of Arcadia fans.

127 Hours is out on 7th January

Your Highness – Trailer

When I first watched the trailer for The Highness below I couldn’t decide whether it was amazing or awful. On reflection I am going with amazing.

Watch it below for busty Deschanel, leggy Portman and Franco and McBride being generally filthy. It’s a fantasy comedy, like The Princess Bride but all dirty. I know there’s no way I won’t be watching in April.