Review: ‘The Disaster Artist’ Is The ‘Citizen Kane’ of James Franco Movies

The Disaster Artist is a show biz tale about the making of The Room, which is the worst movie ever made. Its absolute inept storytelling and abysmal acting has earned it with the distinction of being the Citizen Kane of bad movies. Director/actor James Franco turns that seeming dishonor into a much more sublime journey of friendship and perseverance.

Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) is a struggling actor who is immediately captivated by Tommy Wiseau’s (James Franco) passionate yet absolutely out there performance during acting class. Wiseau beats to the tune of a different drummer, and Sestero is immediately captivated by his spontaneous friend (the pair drive to the spot where James Dean was killed during the dead of night). This bond eventually leads them to Los Angeles where they pursue their thespian dreams (Sharon Stone has a brief cameo as Sestero’s agent).

Seeing Sestero’s frustration over the lack of opportunities coming his way, Wiseau decides to write a screenplay that will be toplined by both of them, thus leading into the formation of The Room. Armed with an impressively solvent bank account, Wiseau is determined to make a film that spotlights their mutual artistry.

Other filmmakers would have taken this true story (it’s based on Sestero’s book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made) and turned it into a biting satire on the vagaries of movie making. Another storytelling approach would probably focus on Sestero and Wiseau’s lack of talent, humorously mocking them for their failed film.

But Franco has deeper things on his mind, and he turns The Disaster Artist into a surprisingly evocative look at an unlikely friendship that can weather the harshest of storms. A substantial portion of the narrative centers on the making of The Room, and it’s filled with very funny moments with Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Ari Graynor, and Josh Hutcherson, just to name a few. Watching the cast and crew try their honest best to make The Room a good film, even with the well meaning but ultimately egomaniacal Wiseau controlling all aspects of production, is must see viewing that will garner its share of attention.

The emotional anchor of the film rests on the chemistry between the Francos, as their affection for each other immediately pulls us into Sestero and Wiseau’s friendship. When their movie finally premieres to an unsuspecting audience, and the laughter unfurls, we hope these buddies find a way out of this ridicule, and without giving too much away, they both learn to appreciate The Room in an entirely different light.

Franco’s diverse talents as a novelist, teacher, director, and actor have also been criticized over the years, and it’s easy to see why he sees a bit of a kinship with Wiseau. Both men are passionate about creating projects with the ones they love, and one would assume he poured his heart and soul into The Disaster Artist. Though it may not be considered the worst movie of all time, The Disaster Room is definitely the Citizen Kane of James Franco movies and one of my favorite films of 2017.

The Disaster Artist, co-staring Alison Brie and Jackie Weaver, opens nationwide today.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

‘Future Man’: 13 Episodes, No Waiting!

Future ManProducers Seth Rogen and Ben Karlin love TV cliffhangers. But they hate TV cliffhangers when you have to wait a long time for the resolution. So, when they were shopping their new comedy, Future Man, they decided that a streaming service like Hulu would be the perfect place for it. When we talked to Rogen, Karlin, and the star of the series, Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), they all agreed the show is best when it’s binge-able. (Click on the media bar below to hear Seth RogenBen Karlin & Josh Hutcherson)

Future Man, starring Josh Hutcherson as a custodian who finds himself in the difficult position of having to save the world, is streaming now on Hulu.

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Posted by AC

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2’ Reaches For An “Epic Finale”


The Hunger Games franchise has been a worldwide blockbuster and to date has amassed over $2.2 billion at the box office. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, which hits theaters November 20, is the final chapter of the franchise as Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her close friends Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) attempt to finally bring down President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

“If you end all of this,” says Peeta in the recently released TV spot for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. “Our lives – they mean something.”

The Hunger Games has definitely meant something to the cast and crew has been involved with the franchise, and hopefully the latest installment will continue to feature director Francis Lawrence’s (I Am Legend, Constantine) successful blend of eye catching visuals and riveting action sequences (the final moments of I Am Legend is a particular standout).

Are you excited about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, or is this escapist popcorn fare really not your cup of tea? Feel free to comment below!

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Posted By: Greg Srisavasdi

Blu-ray Pick: Benicio del Toro Shines In ‘Escobar: Paradise Lost’


Though he’s understandably receiving rave reviews for his magnetic performance as a laser focused assassin in Sicario, Benicio del Toro delivers equally captivating work in Escobar: Paradise Lost.

Nick (Josh Hutcherson) is a surfer who’s hanging out in Colombia with his big brother Dylan (Brady Corbet) and Dylan’s companion Laure (Ana Girardot), as the trio see the picaresque beaches and surrounding area as their temporary haven. Even though a local gang initially threatens their seemingly peaceful existence, they won’t be deterred.

The equation changes when Nick falls head over heels with Maria (Claudia Traisac), the niece of drug lord Pablo Escobar (Benicio del Toro). Their immediate connection is palpable (Traisac and Hutcherson actually have wonderful chemistry), but love always comes with a cost, as being part of the Escobar family can lead to a violent turn of events.

Del Toro, who packed on a few pounds to play Escobar, brings the right amount of gravitas and terror to his part, while Hutcherson is just as convincing as the naive Canadian who’s in over his head.

The real surprise, behind Escobar: Paradise Lost doesn’t rest on the actors’ performances, as Hutcherson and Del Toro are always up to the task (even in bad films, both tend to rise above the material). Rather, it’s first time filmmaker Andrea Di Stefano who brings a refreshingly different take on the proceedings, as his narrative is split into two separate stories (the first half deals with Nick’s romance with Maria and acceptance into the Escobar family and the second section delves into more action driven territory). Di Stefano and cinematographer Luis David Sansans also infuse the film with several visually breathtaking sequences (most notably a chase sequence that occurs near the edge of a mountain). Huge credit also goes to Di Stefano for not giving the film’s final moments a cheesy Hollywood ending but instead giving viewers a more realistic (and, in turn, evocative) closing.

Blu-ray Special Features: The 30 minute plus featurette “Catching Pablo – The Making of Escobar: Paradise Lost focuses on the creative process of Andrea Di Stefano, who sees his story as a modern day Greek tragedy. Hutcherson, Del Toro, Traisac, and Carlos Bardem (he plays Escobar’s right hand man) are also interviewed in the documentary which also details the painstaking yet eventually worthwhile challenges of shooting in Panama. Cinematographer Sansans also breaks down his working relationship with Di Stefano.

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Posted By: Greg Srisavasdi

‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2’ Trailer Feautures Focused Katniss

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 trailer is now upon us, and since the first two films have amassed over $2.2 million internationally, is a trailer even needed? Coming out November 20 and directed by Francis Lawrence, the feature should break its share of records as the concluding chapter of the franchise.

With Panem in the grips of full scale war, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) continues his obsession with eliminating Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawerence). But with the help of close friends Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the mission to liberate Panem and take down Snow isn’t out of her reach.

If you’ve already read the books, you already know Mockingjay is filled with its share of heartache. Since the actual universe revolves around a survival of the fittest competition, death and tragedy were already part of Katniss’ menu. One of our heroine’s strongest aspects is her fortitude, and to win the final battle a great deal of inner resolve and strategic planning is needed. Late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Julianne Moore, and Natalie Dormer also co-star in the much anticipated flick.

To hear Lawrence talk about having “complicated” feelings about wrapping up the Hunger Games franchise, please go to Deepest Dream.

Are you excited to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2? Is Katniss better with a bow than Avengers leader Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)? Feel free to comment below!!

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Posted By: Greg Srisavasdi