Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella The Little Prince has long been acclaimed as a masterpiece of children’s literature, and rightfully so. In spite of the book’s ostensible target audience, Saint-Exupéry tackles adult themes such as mortality and fidelity with the same gusto with which he handles more childish whimsy. The remarkable cohesiveness of the two approaches has largely contributed to the novella’s staying power and broad appeal.
It’s painful to criticize a well-intentioned, socially relevant movie like I Am Michael. Director Justin Kelly’s passion for the project is evident in every frame. Still, there’s no denying this is a deeply flawed and surprisingly sparse film that fails to illuminate its frustrating protagonist. Despite a few moments of emotional clarity and a solid performance from James Franco, I Am Michael leaves you feeling ambivalent and, quite frankly, bored. This is a fascinating story that got lost in translation.
True Story is a slick crime thriller that looks great but feels oddly distant. Much like the cold-blooded killer at its core, Rupert Goold’s film is quite the cold fish. Solid performances and striking visuals help to hide a clunky script that delivers its message with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. It doesn’t amount to much, but True Story is a creepy diversion that will keep you entertained.
James Franco is a renaissance man if there ever was one, as he points out in his monologue and practically every time he goes on some kind of comedy variety late night program to promote his work. That never really comes out in his SNL appearances, as Franco comes off as just being happy to be there. Sure, we are always safe in the knowledge that at some point Seth Rogen will show up, as is his wont, and he shows up twice in this episode, but nothing of the non-jester side of Franco ever really shows up when he heads down to 30 Rock. You’ll see hints of the strange underbelly of Franco occasionally, like in the “Peter Pan Live” sketch, where Franco does an oddball Christopher Walken impression for the ages, which is really less an impression and more a post-modern performance about how our impressions of celebrities are actually just one singular impression broadened to the point of absurdity. But ultimately, James Franco is just a hard working guy who will break at a line about pooping his pants.
Tom and Anna Wright (James Franco and Kate Hudson) are a financially-struggling American couple giving UK life a try. The money from a robbery-gone-wrong ends up in their basement and they make the ill-fated decision to hold onto it, unaware that the cash will bring two separate criminal gangs and a worn police detective charging into their lives.